Thesis Research

'Ripe' a dance for the camera created by
Marney Schaumann.

Created as my thesis creative project.

Please read on to find out more about my thesis research.

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My thesis research involves pregnancy, motherhood, and women in contemporary modern dance. As a cultural body, the pregnant body is highly complex. It defies simple definition, is highly symbolic, and often holds conflicting connotations. For any women the decision to have a child is monumental, but for dancing women, whose bodies are their means of livelihood, the decision is even weightier.

Through my research I am questioning what we expect of dancing bodies and trying to discover where the pregnant form fits into those expectations. I am looking at the cultural meaning and symbolism of this highly contextualized body. Some of the ideas we prescribe to this body are natural, grotesque, beautiful, delicate, and even sexy.

I am also researching what it is like to be a dancing woman who is also a mother. I have interviewed over thirty women in various areas of contemporary dance who are in different stages of their lives and careers. Balancing the demands of a full-time career in dance and motherhood is a precarious act. I hope that through these interviews dancing women can come to see that they are not alone in their endeavors as artists and mothers.

As part of my creative research, I choreographed, filmed, and edited "Ripe." My intention with this film is to show how highly able the pregnant body can be.

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