Bachelor of Fine Arts
Music, Dance and Performing Arts
Director of the Honors Program
Lynn Sondag, MFA
Thomas Burke, MFA
Gay Lynch, PhD
This document chronicles my choreographic process during my final year at Dominican University of California. It explores how loss can be understood through the embodied experience and expression of gratitude. The arc of relationships, through the process of introductions, intimacy, and absence, is communicated as a tender ode, expressed both in words and in dance.
The primary source comes from the finished dance and the choreographic process itself. The themes also draw inspiration from the works of Oscar Wilde, John O’Donohue, and Kimerer LaMothe as well as the poetry of David Whyte, Mary Oliver, and Jane Hirschfield. Through this process, corresponding ideas about language, impermanence, and resilience naturally became integrated into this thesis, so that gratitude becomes deeply intertwined with feelings of loss and absence.
Following the three stanzas of a Pindaric ode, the thesis unfolds in three sections that correspond with the strophe, antistrophe, and epode. The first section, “Oscar,” introduces the people. “Delta,” relating to change, conveys how these people impact our lives and change the shape of our worlds, both when they come in to our lives and when they leave. The last section, “Echo,” shows that these changes continue to resonate long after the individuals have changed, dispersed, or disappeared. In physical and introspective reflection, both the finished dance and the written thesis connect these three sections through the underlying theme of gratitude. Paying tribute to those no longer present provides a way to transform loss into profound expressions of gratitude.
Michalowsky, Victoria, "Oscar. Delta. Echo. A Study on the Physical Poetics of Gratitude" (2019). Honors Theses. 43.