Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type



Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Nada Diachenko

Second Advisor

Erika Randall


Visceral Awakenings is the creative movement product of experimental research I explored as a senior BFA dance student. This research primarily investigated choreographic devices and movement invention techniques that I used to fabricate a performance dance work encompassing historical narrative, abstract narrative, and biomythography. The choreographic techniques applied to this work built a creative process yielding an expressive atmosphere representative of the emotions I experienced in my biographical moments of grief. Using abstract narrative, historical narrative, and biomythography as guidelines to structure my work, I synthesized a cohesive, emotive storyline of a broken individual lost within a shifting timeline of the mourning process, eventually finding the footsteps that lead her back to her future. This troubled individual is not only performed and danced by me, but is me—Visceral Awakenings is a compilation of stories inspired by the traumatic stories of my life and focuses on my personal journey of swimming through the pain. Elements like the sound score, staging arrangements, and costuming were all decisions inspired by these concealed stories of my own mourning processes. Photographs, films, and historically significant landscapes also inspired components of Visceral Awakenings. The application of creative techniques such as improvisation, chance procedure, and gestural narrative helped translate my life experiences to a language of dance movement. The movement technique is a hybrid form, integrating information from my diverse dance training. Visceral Awakenings unveils the universal lessons that can be mined from moments of tragedy in a human life while also revealing the process of beauty and growth possible within an experience of grief.