Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Derek Reid


This thesis will examine the goals of dance performance, the craft behind choreographic art, and their respective relationships to music. As it would be impossible to rewrite the discourse and philosophy of dance or reach any concrete conclusions in that regard, I merely aim to present some of the primary theories surrounding this topic and discuss the roles they took on in the dance I created as part of this project, titled Ash Fighting Balance. I worked with a composer, Harriet Steinke, over the course of the 2015-2016 school year to choreograph a dance in three parts. I conscientiously pursued a different creative process for each of the three sections; section one, Ash, was choreographed to the music, section two, Fighting, was choreographed with counts which the composer followed, and the third section, Balance, was choreographed in silence, the music overlaid later. I initially assumed that each process would yield entirely different results both in the studio and in the final product. Not only did I find this assumption to be wrong, but ran across a number of questions about the craft and motivations behind dance and choreography that required more thought and research than I ever anticipated. This thesis will therefore thoroughly document and analyze my creative process. The ultimate goal of my thesis is to become more cognizant of the intuitive decisions that occur during dance making. Success in the context of this subjective research will be determined by how much I learn about my process from both strong and poor artistic decisions. I seek to define the characteristics of my choreography that I find both pleasing, as well as uninteresting, and trace them back to their places of origin. By becoming aware of how I create dances and the factors that influence the execution of my vision, I hope to become a more mature choreographer.