Author: Irving, Hannah (2011)
Submitted to: The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies; University of Ottawa
Through six months of ethnographic and autoethnographic fieldwork, which included participant observation and ten individual semi-structured interviews, I sought to determine how dominant discourses in dance, especially those pertaining to professionalism, ability, validity, and legitimacy, are circulated in and through training, and how we as dancers responded to these discourses. Following the stand alone thesis format, this thesis is comprised of two publishable papers. The first is an ethnography of one integrated dance company’s members’ experience with negotiating space for alternative forms of dance in contemporary dance. The second is an autoethnographic piece of writing where I show the challenges of resisting dominant discourses of validity and legitimacy in both qualitative research as well as contemporary dance. Together, these papers form a thesis that strengthens our scholarly understanding of the discourses and associated tensions at work in participating in and writing about integrated dance.