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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ripe with meaning: The pregnant body in contemporary dance
by Schaumann, Marney Debenham, M.F.A., The University of Utah, 2010, 116; 1479564
Abstract (Summary)

During the last thirty years research about dance and dancing bodies had provided a fertile ground for discussion and investigation. Significant presentations have been made about the subject, innumerable articles have been written and a multitude of books have been published that address the dancing body as viewed from the perspectives of identity, race, power, politics, social status, gender, sexuality, and so on. One relatively unaddressed area in this ever-expanding discussion are perceptions, attitudes and biases that are held about dancing pregnant bodies, particularly the implications of these bodies in the studio and on stage. As a unique, altered body, the dancing body has been silent in the wings, marginalized, perhaps even ‘put away’. Until it is aesthetically/physically regarded as being ready to be brought into sight it will remain an elusive and enigmatic moving form.

Through interviews, this thesis investigates how the pregnant dancing body is understood and experienced in the studio, on stage, in the workplace, and culturally, by women who have “been there.” To context their responses this thesis will address, at a rudimentary level, the pregnant body from a historical perspective and use literature from the field of gender studies to provide a contemporary understanding of issues that arise when a woman who dances becomes pregnant.

Through research, analysis, a creative project, interviews with dancers who have been pregnant and continue to dance, and through personal reflection (I gave birth to a son during the writing of this thesis) I assert that a pregnant dancing body is a disruptive, challenging, yet able dancing body with its own unique story. It is ultimately through the women themselves, whose words and voices add the most relevant insights into the growing body of literature in the disciplines of dance and gender studies that we engage with a field of inquiry in such a personal yet universal way.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Geber, Pamela
Commitee: Handman, Eric, Hummasti, Satu
School: The University of Utah
Department: Modern Dance
School Location: United States -- Utah
Source: MAI 49/01M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Dance, Womens studies, Performing Arts
Keywords: Contemporary dance, Dancing pregnant, Motherhood, Pregnancy in media, Pregnant body, Work/life balance
Publication Number: 1479564
ISBN: 978-1-124-14568-6
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