Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MFA in Dance

First Advisor

Peggy Gould


Aging is universal. It is the passage of time. It is the formation of one’s ontologies, epistemologies, maturity, wrinkles, wisdom, memory, and more. Aging is universal for all people. However, much like social categorizations –including gender, race, class, religion, and nationality– age adds a layer of difference, another intersection of identity, and thus another hierarchy of dominance. Much like aging, all people dance; we move and groove across time and space. As we dance and as we age, our social standing and understanding change. Within the United States, the cultural (mis)understandings and systems around aging impact and shape the ideals and expectations of aging within the dance discipline, industry, and community. As with all art forms, dance performance holds opportunities for socio-political change and resistance; it is a site to challenge socio-cultural structures and create new understandings and methods for action. In conducting this research, I interviewed two renowned artists: Eiko Otake and Ishmael Houston-Jones. These artists shared their experience of teaching, making, and performing in New York City (and internationally) for over 40 years. This thesis is a phenomenological telling and analysis of these artists’ experiences of aging in the 21st-century dance-art discourse. Simultaneously, this is a phantasmographical reflection and analysis of my imagination and biases of aging as an emerging dance artist and scholar. Insights from these artists inspire my efforts to articulate the immense potential in dance and performance. My research converges with the broader effort to dismantle oppressive mechanisms in our culturally-conditioned knowledge, understanding, and imagination of aging and dance.

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

Included in

Dance Commons