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Contesting Bodies: Former Competitive Dancers' Perceptions of Their Own Bodies


Although competitive dance is a common form of training and performance for

young dancers in the United States, there is little academic research on how this type of

training and performance might impact the minds and bodies of the dancers who

participate. Through interviews with five former competitive dancers, and a psychologist

and dancer, Dr. Christina Donaldson, I explore how practices within competitive dance

might impact the dancers who participate.

This research explores the impact of competitive dance on college undergraduate

dance major’s perceptions of their own body, and how those perceptions might impact

their choices as performers, choreographers, and educators. In collaboration with the

dancers, I created a choreographic work inspired by this research, and in the last chapter I

discuss the creation and presentation of this work.

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