Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree

Spring 2015

Degree Name

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)

Degree In

Dance

First Advisor

Rebekah J. Kowal

Abstract

"Spark and Ruin: a Story of Re-beginning" is a multi-media concert dance work that addresses empathy as a physical and cognitive reactionary state, and utilizes dancing bodies as agents to facilitate this empathic experience. This work developed out of "The Flint Project," which investigates Flint, Michigan, "the most violent city in America," and a community characterized by racial tension and severe distinctions in class and social standing. This post-industrial, urban community serves as a microcosm through which we can examine how racial, social, and cultural politics intersect to establish systematic practices that challenge the possibility of the "American Dream."

"The Flint Project" is a vehicle for creative research that investigates these systems and develops the material into a live performed event, "Spark and Ruin: a Story of Re-beginning". This performance includes installations featuring live performers and also various forms of media (including photography, film, and interactive "stations"). All of this material is constructed to contextualize the material for the viewer in a proscenium-style full-length dance performance. The objective of this piece is to establish a space for viewers to empathize with the material--to create an experience that will evolve into inquiry of systematic inequality as well as self-reflection of perception and bias. In facilitating this level of questioning, I aim to move viewers with compassion and heightened awareness of social inequity, as well as opportunities to chge the systems that enforce it.

Public Abstract

Spark and Ruin: a Story of Re-beginning is a multi-media concert dance work that addresses empathy as a physical and cognitive reactionary state, and utilizes dancing bodies as agents to facilitate this empathic experience. This work developed out of The Flint Project, which investigates Flint, Michigan, “the most violent city in America,” and a community characterized by racial tension and severe distinctions in class and social standing. This post-industrial, urban community serves as a microcosm through which we can examine how racial, social, and cultural politics intersect to establish systematic practices that challenge the possibility of the “American Dream.”

The Flint Project is a vehicle for creative research that investigates these systems and develops the material into a live performed event, Spark and Ruin: a Story of Re-beginning. This performance includes installations featuring live performers and also various forms of media (including photography, film, and interactive “stations”). All of this material is constructed to contextualize the material for the viewer in a proscenium-style full-length dance performance. The objective of this piece is to establish a space for viewers to empathize with the material—to create an experience that will evolve into inquiry of systematic inequality as well as self-reflection of perception and bias. In facilitating this level of questioning, I aim to move viewers with compassion and heightened awareness of social inequity, as well as opportunities to challenge the systems that enforce it.

Keywords

publicabstract, American Dream, Dance, Empathy, Equality, Flint, Multi-media

Pages

iv, 1 pages

Copyright

Copyright 2015 Alexandra Bush

Included in

Dance Commons

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