Dancing in Time: Embodied Engagements with Feminist and Queer Theory



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My project springs from the years I have spent at Mount Holyoke College deepening my understanding of the world through simultaneous engagement with my dance practice and with feminist and queer theory. Dance has always been a way in which I create meaning for myself and synthesize knowledges produced through theory. Embodiment as a site of epistemology is a grounding truth in my work. This thesis work is a collaborative research project, engaging with the work of others across space and time to think through the ways that my modern and postmodern dance practice creates space for queer futurities. Most significantly, my work is in conversation with a duet that Katherine Kain and I made collaboratively called swirly, phrase, make out, lollipops (2021), as well as with Katherine’s thesis work Pillars Remnant (2020), and Barbie Diewald’s Just the Beams (2018). Through the framework of these three rehearsal processes, I examine materiality, temporality, futurity, and queerness in three chapters. In the first chapter, I explain physicist Karen Barad’s theory of actively drawing boundaries as the basis of any research project, and Donna Haraway’s notion of vision as always mediated. I use these theories to engage with rehearsal notes and videos, and think about what each offers to the medium of dance. In the second chapter, I move to talking about the temporal intricacies of Just the Beams in particular, the material connections between past and present, and this works relationships to settler colonialism. This chapter engages deeply with materiality alongside theorists like Haraway, Samantha Frost, and Diana Taylor. In the final chapter, I write about the role of the audience in relation to the queer futurities enacted and embodied by the performers on stage. My work follows in the traditions of feminist research because I center my personal experiences as evidence in a collective project of knowledge production about space, time, history, and their embodiments. My work specifically produces knowledge about dancing queer embodiments and futurities during a pandemic.



queer, queerness, dance, embodiments