Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Degree Name

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Kowal, Rebekah

First Committee Member

Duarte, Armando

Second Committee Member

Meyers, Melinda


In this collection of choreographic and performative work, I aim to investigate themes of femininity, feminine identity and the navigation of power within socially constructed gender rules. I investigate these broader themes across three separate artistic works, wherein each piece offers an alternative perspective from which to confront relevant theoretical questions and challenges. Commencing with studio-based movement research, I rely on rehearsal processes and performances to provide particular and contrastive contexts of looking at issues relating to feminine identity and female ownership of power. My research consists of three separate group, trio, and solo works. Within the group work, I pose questions of voice, agency and representation as a female artist within a male-choreographed and idealized experience. I investigate the implications of accepting androgynous artistic roles as a performer who is committed to understanding feminine performance. Connotations of "strong women" are explored in the trio. Not only does the cast consist wholly of women, but the movement explores themes of athleticism and physical power as they relate to female bodies. My solo allows for a more personal exploration of feminine identity, incorporating past and current representations of my own woman-bodied experience while examining the contradictions that surround femininity and womanhood. In this excerpt I aim to unpack the conflicting experiences of obtaining and maintaining power as a woman, and whether or not the manipulation of the sexualization of women for the regain of power signifies freedom or traps women in the social constructs of womanhood. These assembled works serve as an assortment of perspectives and contexts from which I view the complexities of what it means to exist in the female/feminine narrative—not only as a display of my own performance but as a performance of universal and multifaceted femininity.


Dance, Femininity, Identity, Power


ii, 2 pages


Copyright © 2018 Arianna Russ

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