Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Maura Nguyen Donohue

Second Advisor

James Cantres

Academic Program Adviser

Maura Nguyen Donohue


The horrors inflicted on Black bodies, souls, and spirits in the United States during the transatlantic slave trade, the Jim Crow era, and the current era (2023) have a lasting legacy of trauma metabolized through the body and transmuted generationally. Jones uses this data to contextualize the work of Black dance artists as hermeneutic phenomena in which the Black dance artist is a hermeneut tasked with delivering a message of the Black body/spirit complex: “I AM HUMAN. DO NOT KILL ME.” This paper examines how Black dance artists frequently petition for their survival — incessantly subjugated to the interpreter’s empathy, understanding, and acknowledgment of the historical context of Blackness in the United States of America.






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