Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MFA in Dance


Dance Graduate Program


Through an investigation of the ideas and practices of anarchism, emphasizing what that often overlooked tradition may offer as a theoretical basis, the study proposes a potential ground on which to reconsider some essential dynamics in the creation, presentation, and practice of dance. Certain robust sites of convergence between dance and anarchism are identified upon which choreography and performance might begin to realize a more critically effective role in exposing and challenging hierarchical structures of power, and supporting the agency and autonomy of the individual. These include the relationship of each practice to notions of participation, disruption, space, authority, play, violence, and the body. The presentation of these shared imperatives is central to the thesis; it also notes and tracks the persistence of a heretofore unremarked crypto-anarchism that suffuses dance—latent in the work of theorists such André Lepecki and Bojana Kunst, movements such as the Judson Dance Theater, and present throughout its 20th century history. The choreographer Nora Chipaumire is considered in this context, as well. Foundational ideas of anarchism, and the nature of its endemic suppression, are also addressed. A conclusion is reached that this venerable strain of political thought, and its contemporary practice, may offer a great deal to dance if it should choose to seek a more potent role in liberatory struggle and dissent.