Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Isadora Duskin-Feinberg L&S Arts & Humanities

What is the Pointe of Ballet? : Varied Messages and Depictions

Dance historian Marion Kant exclaimed, “Ask any young woman on her way to a [ballet] performance…what most clearly symbolizes ballet and she will probably answer – the skirt and the pointe shoe. She will not quote sentences from the story and may recall only a few names of the characters…Has ballet no message?” The wider public focuses little on the messages of Ballet, such as academic research focusing mostly on the science of ballet.
My research focus for this project will be comparing and contrasting the messages/depictions of ballet created by the Ballet World and by the general media. My research will also focus on how ballet depictions differ when aimed toward different age demographics. Besides surveying academic studies, books, movies, television, and social media, I hope to conduct interviews with dancers, choreographers, and other professionals involved in ballet production. Ultimately, I hope people will be able to walk away from my research having increased interest in the messages of ballet, thinking more about ballet as a catalyst for social change, and thinking about how the media and systems of oppression in society could be shaping modern opinions on ballet.

Message To Sponsor

As someone whose life has been so heavily shaped by ballet, this summer research project is deeply personal to me. I am not only excited that I get to participate in research, but that I get to participate in research in my chosen field and engage with fellow students to build my knowledge and network. This opportunity is a dream come true for me and will be life-changing! I am beyond honored to have been selected and wanted to thank you deeply for funding my project!
Profile image of Isadora Duskin-Feinberg
Major: Theater and Performance Studies
Mentor: Philip Gotanda
Sponsor: Leadership
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