Date of Award

Winter 1-5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Departments/Programs

Film and Media Studies

First Advisor

Tami Gold

Second Advisor

Rachel Stevens

Third Advisor

Ricardo Miranda

Academic Program Adviser

Marty Lucas

Abstract

The Untitled Black Burlesque History Project is a character driven short documentary featuring Chicava Honeychild, a neo-burlesque1 dancer who is unearthing a hidden Black burlesque history. As Chicava searches for her “stripper grandmas,” she mentors a new generation of burlesque performers who are of women of color. Chicava Honeychild first meeting with Black burlesque Jean Idelle is interwoven with the burlesque journey of Henrietta, Chicava Honeychild’s burlesque student. As Henrietta is honing her burlesque craft in preparation for her first performance, we learn about Jean’s dynamic life as a burlesque dancer in the 1940s and 1950s. Utilizing burlesque as a lens of interpretation allows us to discuss Black female sexuality while exploring Black bodies in performance. The film also allows us to see the making of a burlesque dancer. It is a rare look at the hidden past of Black burlesque and a contemporary look at the strides being taken to uplift a new generation of Black burlesque dancers.

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