In the Beholding Eye

Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Carolyn Pavlik

Second Advisor

Sharon Garber


Humanity is predisposed for movement; it is in our nature and our DNA. Humanity sees movement as a tool, something to use in order to survive, communicate and obtain objects. Humans take movement for granted but, as dancers, we see the beauty in this ability to move. We use movement to create artistic works that explore movement and push it to its extremes. Though, because of our appreciation for movement, we have formed this idea of what dance is supposed to look like. After years of dance training, we become so informed that our ability to move in an instinctive and natural way may be lost. We begin to complicate movement, push its capabilities, and try to be innovative. In doing this, we lose the natural elements of movement. When looking at a crowd of people, we see individual, habitual and instinctive movements; I see dance in its truest form. These movements have a unique beauty that is often overlooked in our society.

To explore this idea, I worked with a cast of eight dance majors, who are able to see the beauty of movement and push it to its limits, and four non-dance majors, who have little to no dance training, and who enjoy moving but are not boxed in by what the dance world has deemed dance to be. I encouraged each cast member to create movement that felt natural and good to them. Then I manipulated their phrases through time, dynamic quality, effort, intent, spatial correlation and more in order to develop personal and spatial relationships. To create a fully cohesive piece, I worked with a composer, Larkin Babbitt, who also was one of my untrained cast members. Through her involvement in the choreographic process as well as music composition, she created a work that set a clear, immersed in society atmosphere, followed by a driving dance beat and ending with a mood change, supporting the progress of the work overall. In the end, I had created a piece that showed human relationships, in an everyday environment, that progress and grow or progress and fall apart. In the Beholding Eye, is a piece that allows for connections with a broad audience through the exploration of relationships that are common in the society around us. To me, natural connections are beautiful, but “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Is what you see beautiful?

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Essay.pdf (142 kB)
Reflection Paper

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