Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Dance (DANC)

First Advisor

Kristen Smiarowski, M.F.A.

Second Advisor

Teresa L. Heiland, Ph.D., C.L.M.A.

Third Advisor

Jill Nunes Jensen, Ph.D.


This thesis, entitled “En Croix,” began in Paris as a choreographic exploration of my struggle to reconcile my feminist and queer identity with my Roman Catholic upbringing. The strictness of my conservative religious background became an entry point to choreography, enabling me to create a solo with movements based on the Sign of the Cross—up, down, side, side. After returning to Los Angeles, I translated the choreography from the first solo into a second, breaking open the precise patterns and structures from solo one, and adding improvisation as a choreographic device; then, I completely abandoned the form of the two solos and generated a third solely through improvisation. While reflecting upon these dances, I began an ensemble piece for seven women. I identified the five most common movements from my three solos and presented those to my dancers as prompts, giving them the freedom to craft movement. What results is a choreographic study of translation, instigated by geography and unpacked through time and body knowledges. “En Croix” is situated in exploration and the spaces in which I have found and constructed my identity. The choreography both depends on and breaks free from the limitations I have experienced, the choices I have made, and my questions surrounding how bodies relate. Rooted in the tension between my need for individuality and my own comfort in ideologies that reinforce uniformity and sameness, this thesis renders resistance, solidarity, identification, and belonging through a choreographic process steeped in time, place, and experience.

Included in

Dance Commons