Between a Rock and a Jazz Hand: A Personal Journey of MovementStyle and the Female Experience Open Access

Krakower, Eliza (2017)

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During the progression of my dance journey at Emory over the past four years, I have experienced a myriad of emotions and questions around dance. From my foundation in classical ballet and jazz training during my youth, to the academic study of movement in the Emory dance department, I have embraced, questioned, doubted, and found power, acceptance, and expression through dance.

The purpose of this research is two-fold: 1) To investigate the process of morphing Fosse-inspired musical theatre jazz into contemporary modern dance, and 2) to query how various dance styles can be objectifying and/or empowering to women. As a part of my process, this exploration travels through an examination of several dance forms (contemporary modern dance, Gaga, Rockette precision jazz, and Fosse style jazz) and culminates with an original 20-minute work featuring a cast of seven dancers in the Emory Dance Program, including me. The work was performed in the Dance Studio at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts on Friday, March 24th and Saturday, March 25th 2017. Through this process I have enhanced my understanding of my own insecurities and vulnerabilities, and I have worked tirelessly to face the difficult questions emerging from my exploration. Observations and analysis throughout the year-long process, combined with study of historical context, and reflections and feedback from the performance itself, have provided the framework for this paper.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction 1

II. New Textbooks

1 a. Introduction to Emory Dance Company 4

III. Influences

7 a. Gaga

7 b. The Radio City Rockettes

11 i. Summers

11 ii. History 12

iii. Modernization 14

iv. Today 16

v. Controversy 18

c. Bob Fosse 20

IV. The Thesis 24

a. Beginning a Process 24

b. Big Spender 28

i. Hey, Big Spender 37

ii. Breakdown (noun): A failure to progress or have effect 38

iii. Self-Talk 39

iv. Hey, Self-Talk 40

v. Begin Again 41

c. Costumes 42d. Performance Reflection 44

e. Dancer Reflections 46

f. Feedback 47

V. Conclusion 50

Appendix A: Promotional Flyer 52

Appendix B: Concert Program 53

Appendix C: Post-Concert Audience Feedback Survey 55

Appendix D: Survey Results 56

Appendix E: Performance

Photographs 61 References 65

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