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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dance in the Era of #MeToo

  • Author(s): Kinghorn, Kiara
  • Advisor(s): Fisher, Jennifer
  • et al.


Dance in the Era of #MeToo


Kiara Justine Kinghorn

Master of Fine Arts in Dance

University of California, Irvine 2020

Professor Jennifer Fisher, PhD, Chair

This thesis addresses the effect of the #MeToo Movement in dance training and choreography, including why dance is particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment, and what is being done to counteract the pervasiveness of this issue. Founded in 2006 by social activist Tarana Burke, the #MeToo Movement is a virtual social movement to highlight the ubiquity of sexual harassment in modern culture, especially in the lives of vulnerable young women. In 2017, the hashtag reemerged by actress Alyssa Milano and was reposted over fifteen million times on various social media platforms, unleashing years of repressed sexual trauma by users worldwide. The field of dance had also been susceptible to sexual abuse due to the patriarchal culture and authoritarian pedagogical methods in which it develops. This thesis will also focus on consciousness-raising groups that are bringing light to this issue, as well as pre-#MeToo choreographers who have succeeded in “putting the body back together,” such as Josephine Baker, Pina Bausch, and Jawole Jo Willa Zollar. The last section describes my choreographic process that ensued while creating a twenty-two minute dance theater work on the subject of #MeToo, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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