Jenni Reinke

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

First Advisor

Simone Ferro

Committee Members

Maria Gillespie, Dan Schuchart


Anthropology, Architecture, Avant-garde, Choreography, Dance studies, Dramaturgy, Embodiment, Epistemology, Ethnography, Existentialism, Feminism, Gender studies, History, Interdisciplinary, Performance ethnography, Performance studies, Phenomenology, Philosophy, Postmodernism, Sensory ethnography, Somatics, Theatre studies, Frank Lloyd Wright


Cartesian mind-body dualism undergirds much of modern Western culture, determining its ontological and epistemological values. Peeling away the hegemony of cognition, this thesis illustrates embodiment as a complementary way of knowing. It proposes the dramaturgy of embodiment as an emancipatory framework for interdisciplinary choreographic and ethnographic praxis. As method, embodied performance uses the body as the primary site for making and dissemination of information, asserting the validity of subjective epistemologies.

Detailing the practical and academic exploration of an embodied dramaturgical process, this thesis analyzes the author’s creation and performance of Mrs. Wrights, an evening-length solo dance theatre production. Inspired by the five women closest to American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the show blends embodiment and text to display lived experiences and convey historical stories. Covering a continuum from the phenomenal to the semiotic, the show’s form functions as an analogue to its content. Embodiment reflects the ephemerality of the women’s domestic lived experiences, while text mirrors the relatively permanent record of Wright’s architectural legacy. Confronting a sexist ontology of womanness, Mrs. Wrights invites audiences to consider cultural amnesia – collective forgetting on the basis of social power structures.


Department of Dance/Choreography