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Year of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

MFA: Dance

Directing Professor

Jeffery Bullock


Performatives, acts of performativity that comprise one aspect of performance, signify the identity one wishes others to acknowledge. Although the expression of performatives may be individual, they obtain meaning only insofar as they are seen, heard, or experienced by others and exist adjacent to and referencing the performances of others. This research is a journey of self-reflection as the author examines her performatives living as a woman and a mother. With specific attention to the work of Judith Butler, Susan Stinson, Betty Friedan, Minna Dubin, and Angela Garbes, the author uses her own subjective experiences as a catalyst to explore gender performance, the “hidden curriculum” of early ballet education, Second Wave Feminism, “mom rage,” and “good mother ideology.” She analyzes her indoctrinated ideals developed and reinforced through dominant heteronormative social and cultural narratives and the subsequent performatives she has performed and continues to perform insincerely. She dissects the historical underpinnings of these performatives and explores how she can transgress dominant narratives by adopting alternative ways of existing despite remaining tethered to a body that locates her in a specific time and place of privilege. Through excavating her lineage and upbringing and contextualizing her experiences as a woman, dancer, and mother, she embraces an ethics of care toward her daughter, community, and, ultimately, herself.

Performance Access Statement

If you wish to see the creative piece or performance that accompanied this thesis, please complete the Request Form, and you should receive a response from the Dance Department within two weeks.