Womens’ Bodies, Womens’ Stories : A Multi-Media Reflection on Fertility and Childbearing
Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
College of the Arts
Theatre and Dance
Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair
Women dancers, Dance
Dance has the power to express emotion and facilitate understanding in a way that is unlike any other art form. With embodied knowledge and raw physicality, dance has great potential to be a powerful tool for activism. It is with this core belief that I choreograph pieces and dance films for my company, Awaken Dance Theater. These beliefs also influence my teaching, in pushing for a culturally relevant curriculum. Through choreography and film, this thesis project explores a topic which is historically underrepresented in art : womens’ experiences surrounding fertility and childbearing.
Such choices and issues surrounding childbearing are hugely impactful on women’s lives. Infertility, abortion, pregnancy loss, childless by choice, and even healthy pregnancies are often stigmatized and shunned by society at large, and portrayed insensitively and inaccurately by the typically male-dominated media. In my thesis, I aim to bring womens’ own voices to light. With each of five female dancers exemplifying one of the aforementioned issues, I explore gestures based on research and marry those findings with personal experience through movement and media.
The performative portion of my thesis includes a personal film in response to my experience with miscarriage as well as a choreographed work with five female dancers from Awaken Dance Theater. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, my live performance was unfortunately cancelled. In its stead, I made a short film using rehearsal footage leading up to our performance, edited the footage to show the trajectory of the work, and then invited feedback from dancers and viewers.
Nodhturft, Rebekka, "Womens’ Bodies, Womens’ Stories : A Multi-Media Reflection on Fertility and Childbearing" (2020). Theses, Dissertations and Culminating Projects. 500.
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