Identity Stories : Cultural Imprints on the Body
Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
College of the Arts
Theatre and Dance
Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair
Christian von Howard
As a seasoned dance educator I have spent the last decade developing a curriculum that supports student identity development through creative practice. Through my research and practice in the classroom, I have discovered the power of dance education to promote collaboration, creative problem solving, the ability to learn across disciplines, and several other areas of cognitive development. In this MFA thesis project, I continue this work by applying the creative process to investigate the potential for dance film to be used as an educational tool to support critical analysis of social constructs that inhibit identity development, specifically gender identity development. The resulting research investigates the use of dance film as a tool for building empathy, shifting audience perspectives, and creating a resource for critical examination of the effects of gender stereotypes on identity development. By choreographically challenging ideas of conformity and gender performativity as it relates to the gender binary, and framing the investigation under educational theorist Paulo Freire’s structures for social reform, I seek to promote dialogue and social progression to reduce stereotypical threats against gender non-conforming individuals and to educate the larger community about the multiple layers of gender identity.
Kamitses, Alexis, "Identity Stories : Cultural Imprints on the Body" (2020). Theses, Dissertations and Culminating Projects. 594.
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