Publication Date

April 2017


Katja Kolcio, Jonathan Cutler


Sociology, Dance


English (United States)


What freedom can we find in the dizzying moment of losing control? This thesis examines contested meanings of freedom in postmodern dance discourse, as they affirm or disavow pleasure from spectacular artifice and uncontrolled abandon. The three chapters, focused on the work of Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, and Pina Bausch, layer together the artist's choreographic practice, commentary surrounding the practice, and feminist and queer theory. Each chapter is framed by relevant anecdotes of a yearlong embodied research project, which involved choreographing two staged works in conversation with these questions.These three chapters will surface anxieties embedded in the leftist discourse of objectivism and anti-totalitarianism, which serve to police pleasure and freedom in dance performance. The chapters will then explore moments of chaotic abandon and decadent artifice in order to re-orient staged pleasure as a practice with freeing potential.



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