Theses Bachelor's

In This Project of Undoing: Practices of Resistance and Imagination in the Collegiate Ballroom Dance Community

Song, Crystal

This paper explores strains of resistance within the practices of competitive collegiate ballroom dancers. Drawing on the participatory epistemology of performance ethnography, it examines the ongoing project of queering ballroom, a dance form that has historically reproduced hegemonic ideas about race, gender, and sexuality. This paper identifies moments of utopian performance enacted by collegiate ballroom dancers—particularly those who are queer and/or of color—that destabilize the competitive standard of the white, heterosexual couple, facilitating new aesthetic and choreographic possibilities. Such moments flex against the boundaries of normative partnership, gesturing towards alternatives and making the collegiate ballroom community an increasingly inclusive, accessible, and creative space. In centering the embodied knowledges of collegiate dancers, this project pursues an epistemology that mirrors the proximity and vulnerability of partner dancing itself.


  • thumnail for In This Project of Undoing - Crystal Song.pdf In This Project of Undoing - Crystal Song.pdf application/pdf 214 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Thesis Advisors
Paredez, Deborah A.
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
April 10, 2019


Keywords: ballroom dancing, partner dancing, dancesport, queer studies, ethnic studies, Asian American, Standard, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, hustle