Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MFA in Dance


Dance Graduate Program


Queering Spatial Relationships Between Audiences and Performers examines how theatrical space works to produce the rules and conventions of spectatorship in contemporary dance performance. How does space—specifically the space designed for the audience in relationship to the performing space—inform notions of subjectivity? This project proposes that to change spatial relations is to subvert conventions of spectatorship in order to support the presence of a queer body politic that has both historical and personal dimensions. I filter knowledge through two lenses: the first is analytical in its approach to understanding how the construction of space exerts power over subjectivity. Working through theories from Henri Lefebvre and Sara Ahmed, this project lands in the proximal, immersive space offered by ‘black-box’ theaters. The second lens is choreographic; it is a practice which attempts to manifest these philosophies in physical and experiential form. It is through this latter form of knowledge production that the audience’s role in creating the performance becomes clear. Nicolas Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics and Claire Bishop’s critique of it helps to evaluate and assess the relations produced therein that maintain the possibility of multiple, fluid subjectivities, essential to a queer identity. By disrupting the socially conditioned conventions of spectatorship, space is cleared for a new approach to a queer body politic in performance.