Quare Dance: Fashioning a Black, Queer, Fem(me)inist Aesthetic in Ballet

quare dance

Alyah Baker (MFA in Dance '21)

Spring, 2021

Quare Dance: Fashioning a Black, Queer, Fem(me)inist Aesthetic in Ballet


This thesis project is a multimedia performance installation that examines the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and ballet, with a particular focus on the stories of Black queer women. Artists Alyah Baker, Kiara Felder, Cortney Taylor Key, and Audrey Malek combine Black feminist epistemologies with movement, images, text and material artifacts to imagine and embody new possibilities for ballet.

The installation and artists involved trouble dominant discourses on dance and identity, presenting important yet previously overlooked counter-narratives. Quare Dance queers our understanding of ballet and the ballerina, offering a fresh perspective on what ballet is and can be as it moves into the 21st century.

Presented by the Duke Dance Program and Alyah Baker in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Dance in the Graduate School at Duke University.