Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2019

Degree Name

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Kowal, Rebekah

First Committee Member

McMillan, Christopher-Rasheem

Second Committee Member

Myers, Melinda J

Third Committee Member

Buckley, Jennifer


To study pairs of people is to study how individuals establish senses of self, other, and us. Every time two individuals meet, they confront their intersections; they align, collide, refract, reflect, and maybe even absorb one another. I am interested in a third element of betweenness created at the intersection of one-to-one interactions, and how that betweenness holds relationships between individuals in constant dialogue. In choreographing and directing Three Completely Distinct Duets with Absolutely Nothing in Common (TCDDwANiC), I investigate contradictions in the duet form in order to mine and frame a betweenness loaded with awkward aesthetics. In a world in which awkwardness is often shamed, I seek to illuminate its presence in my art-making. In this manner, TCDDwANiC immediately questions whether it is or is not what it says it is. In an attempt to conceptually and choreographically destabilize some of my contradictory relationships to my own trainings in Western concert dance forms, I rigorously conceived of the production through its framing, character developments, and re-distributed narrative layers. Having set up specific working procedures with rigid creative boundaries regarding time and space, I have come to recognize ways in which my research actively disallows a certain amount of pleasure in its making. Demanding the watching, witnessing, and participating spectator to engage with complex layers of contradiction, TCDDwANiC reflects its own making, and carries social implications more relevant than the production itself or its most direct communal reach.


Awkwardness, Contradictions, Dance, Duets, Performance, Theater


iv, 29 pages


Includes bibliographical references (page 28).


Dance performance:


Copyright © 2019 Meredith Stapleton

Additional Files

Forehand-Stapleton Thesis Program_v2.pdf (966 kB)
Thesis Program

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