Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MFA in Dance

First Advisor

Peggy Gould


Dance has long been conflated with sensuality and sex. The act of dancing can incite intimacy and ecstasy, communion and liberation. This power has historically been vilified and restricted in the name of colonization and Christianity. Today, dancers are still subject to these associations: naming our profession yields lewd questions about our flexibility, or propositions for a private dance. Male celebrities wear ballerinas on their arms like trophies, with the implication of a vivacious sexual relationship widely understood and applauded. Rather than trying to distance the art of dance from the practice of selling sex, I propose we embrace our erotic history and instead focus our efforts on erasing the stigma surrounding sexual labor. With all the pleasures and dangers these vocations share—attractiveness, authenticity, vulnerability, exploitation—it is in our best interests to embrace the dancer’s whore status and demand better conditions for all who make their way through the world with their bodily delights.

Under author imposed embargo.
Available for download on Wednesday, May 01, 2024