A Transformative Escape: Stories of Black Womanhood Negotiated in the Dance Studio

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2017
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Haverford College. Department of Anthropology
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Thesis
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Award
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eng
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Open Access
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Abstract
For my thesis, I aimed at using stories collected in interviews with four Black American women who have had experience in ballet and maintain their commitment to ballet at varying degrees in nonprofessional and professional aspects. I juxtaposed these stories against a backdrop of ballet as being an historically white, Eurocentric, traditional dance that has emulated certain ideals that are rarely attainable and tends to reproduce methods of exclusion that larger institutions have practiced in dividing people and resources based on race and gender. The goal here was to see how the four women experienced ballet, how it is a part of their identities, and why they continue their commitment to it at varying extents despite the exclusionary practices that are commonly found in elite ballet dance schools.
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