Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MFA in Dance


Dance Graduate Program


What does it mean to have multiple cultural identities? As a German-American bilingual and bicultural individual, I’ve struggled to locate my sense of belonging due to the constant cultural navigation or code-switching that occurs when reckoning personal and societal expectations. My thesis research is rooted in exploring how my lived experiences with code-switching inform a physical and philosophical approach to research using the dancing body, where identity formation and performance are reimagined in creative practice. Language, culture, context, and movement drive this Practice-as-Research (PaR) project through a series of stages that culminate in my proposed fourth contemporary identity concept. Through a discussion of personal history, creative practice, and critical self-reflection, I re-think the sociolinguistic process of code-switching in relation to cultural scholars such as John Gumperz and Stuart Hall, and contemporary dance artists such as Sarah Michelson and Eleanor Bauer. As a white, female, German-American artist, I reflect upon my own privilege as a dance maker addressing code-switching, belonging, citizenship, and self-acceptance in my creative praxis. My research demonstrates the urgency of identity discourse in that it demands a re-evaluation of cultural identity that justifies plurality and fluidity of self through a kinesthetic choreographic practice of code-switching.

Under author imposed embargo.
Available for download on Saturday, July 11, 2020

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