• In the Margins: Dance Studies, Feminist Theories and the Public Performance of Identity

      Keefe, Maura; Zdrojewski, Julia; The College at Brockport (2014-06-06)
      During the last decade of the twentieth century, there was a rush of ideologies and theories, discussed and applied to dance, shifting traditional dance history into dance studies. Of particular interest in this paper, is the strong relationship with dance and feminist theories. The historical and social context of feminism and dance scholarship became and still is a topic of politics, representation and meaning. Female bodies playing a key role in dance evokes questions of how feminist theories help performers and non-performers alike better understand gender and gender roles in performances. Within the topic of dance scholarship, this paper will address what a feminist is, where and how feminist theories and the study of dance first met, as well as reference specific works and choreographers that showcase the connection between the two. Specific attention will be paid to four different women who are considered literary, dance and/or feminist icons, including Isadora Duncan, Zelda Fitzgerald, Patti Smith and Yvonne Rainer. The writer will focus on these four women and the public performance of feminist identities as it relates to each of them individually, as well as their writing- biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, etc. In addition, it will seek to answer what a feminist dance looks like, according to the writer, and how this idea can change and modify according to the audience members, or viewers. Lastly, it will work to question whether or not there has been a shift in feminist theories as they relate to dance and the power of the relationship today.