Theses Bachelor's

Michael Jackson's Performance of Difference: Dance as Ostracism and Wonderment

Takiguchi, Amanda

During his reign as the world’s “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson inspired as much fascination with his physical appearance and private life as his artistry. We have seen Jackson portrayed as freak, alien, machine, magician, a new frontier, a cautionary tale, and even a nightmare. However, I’m suggesting that we focus on the underlying theme of difference that exists in Michael Jackson’s artistic work and more specifically, in his body and movement. In this thesis, I approach Michael Jackson’s difference by concentrating on his dancing and delineating it as that which determines his difference and that which helps the audience find likeness in him. That is, the function and power of Jackson’s movement is two-fold: it is both what sets him apart and what permits his acceptance. Ultimately, Jackson demonstrates the intense power of the body and of movement, and the varied influence they can have over his audience’s perception and reception of him. My thesis can be broken down into two parts: the problem Michael Jackson’s difference poses for society, and the response, in which Jackson has adopted and responded to the problem of his difference in order to deflect political issues.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Dance (Barnard College)
Thesis Advisors
Scolieri, Paul Anthony
B.A., Barnard College
Published Here
May 2, 2014