Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

It's Something about the Shoes: A Creative Thesis through Practice
by Loehr, Dustin, M.A., Prescott College, 2015, 214; 1590266
Abstract (Summary)

It’s Something About the Shoes: A Creative Thesis through Practice is an in depth, project-based study that follows the development and implementation of an intercultural and interdisciplinary collaboration. This paper illustrates how the Practice-led Research paradigm, when coupled with the Expressive Arts, can promote empowerment and transformation for all participants including audience members. Artistic practices and rehearsals realized through performance and analyzed through constant participant reflection constitute the research data. It’s Something About the Shoes is composed of a live performance installation that includes multimedia video sculptures, still images, and pre-recorded sound, all designed around the living exchange between a contemporary tap dancer and the indigenous Danza CAAS dancers. The inquiry lies in the dance shoes. What is it about these shoes that allows the dancers to connect and communicate? How can two very different dance genres and ontological cultures exist simultaneously within a space? What does a show about a tap dancer and traditional Sonajera dancers look like; how will the different cultures interact in this space? Will the common thread of percussive dance transcend cultural and language barriers or will the resulting rhythmic dialogue be too oblique for the dancers and audience to follow? In order to understand the foundational context in which this work is created, a Literature Review is provided that: defines Practice-led Research and the methods to be used in this study, acknowledges a brief historical review of tap dancing with particular emphasis placed on Hispanic and Native influences, and a metaphysical examination of the ecological intersection of performance, place and space. The literature is divided up into complete subsections or articles so that readers may access particular areas of interest with ease. Individual subsections of the Literature Review are composed of review, analysis, and application of literature sources complete with separate bibliographies for quick reference. All Reference Lists are also compiled into a complete Works Cited at the end of the thesis document.

Methods used to address inquiries and provide structure to the Practice-led model include: Performance Research, Ethnodrama, and Socio-Narratology. Coupled with these ideologies are Organic Inquiry, Emergent Design Theory, and Collaborative Theory, which act as lenses through which the collaborative process and organizational development of the thesis may be viewed clearly and precisely. Together these methods are used to create the content of a performance. Utilizing interviews with co-participants, surveys, constant reflection, and video documentation, these inspirations are organized as a creative thesis. The findings are composed of raw audience data collected through surveys gathered before and after the performances. This, combined with personal reflections of the artist participants illustrate the type of knowing that is revealed through artistic practice and inquiry. The project convener provides the final synthesis and interpretation of data through a reflective narrative.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Greenblum, Ellen
Commitee: Clingan, Joan, Kim, Marianne
School: Prescott College
Department: Humanities
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 54/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Multicultural Education, Performing Arts, Theater
Keywords: Arts-based research, Collaborative theory, Emergent design, Organic inquiry, Practice-led reserach, Tap dance
Publication Number: 1590266
ISBN: 978-1-321-79244-7
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