Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Gender & Women's Studies

Reader 1

Giovanni Ortega

Reader 2

Anthony Shay

Reader 3

Joyce Lu

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Rights Information

© 2016 Harrison M. Goodall


This thesis examines dance as a means of social and political revolt in the AIDS epidemic. The course of the AIDS epidemic within the United States was inexorably shaped by the way dancers and choreographers used their art form to rebel against concepts of masculinity, sexuality and disease transmission. Through confronting their audiences with the reality of their loss and humanizing themselves and their loved ones that passed away, dancers were able to change the image of the epidemic and push for necessary political and social reform. This paper also analyzes the ways that norms of masculinity and the stigma of effeminacy in modern society developed, through tracing the development and disappearance of the male dancers on stages across the world. This examination explores the connection between dance and queerness, as well as effeminacy and sexuality, and calls into question the ways in which our bodies and movements are colonized. These were concepts that were all explored during the AIDS epidemic as well as dance and social revolutions through out the earlier part of the 20th century.