This thesis explores societal expectations of dance and performance, specifically in regard to the current college-aged generation of American society. In order to understand what individuals' expectations of dance and performance are and how they are created and perpetuated by society, survey questionnaires were distributed to 101 current students at the College of Wooster. Participants were first asked to provide their initial expectations of dance and performance then given a series of video clips to watch and respond to in regard to six aspects of dance and performance. Three theoretical perspectives were employed to understand the research data. Additionally, research was conducted on the post-modern movement of dance and the performance art group Fluxus, both of which aimed to eliminate preexisting expectations of dance and performance. Quantitative results showed that ultimately structure outweighs agency, the primary social force influencing expectations of dance and performance may be the mass media, and it is seemingly impossible to remove these societal expectations. Qualitative results showed that (1) participants better understand traditional ideals of dance and performance over experimental dance and performance and, thus, prefer the traditional and (2) the aspect of 'entertainment' plays a large role in participants' aesthetic value of a piece.


Setsuko, Matsuzawa

Second Advisor

Wilmot, Alyssa Lee


Sociology and Anthropology; Theatre and Dance


Applied Behavior Analysis | Dance


dance, performance, post-modern, fluxus

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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