This thesis focuses on how women dancers of color (WDoC) decolonize the process of knowledge production through performance. Through a feminist perspective, this research analyzes the ways WDoC use dance and movement to share their voices as women of color. The American concert dance industry was established based on Western perspectives. When WDoC create performances about their own lived experiences, dance plays a role in decolonizing the process of knowledge production by portraying their unique perspectives and culture through movement. Focus group discussions with women of color who perform in a midwestern metro area were selected as a method for this study to find out how their identities as WDoC are developed, how their movement embodies their experiences and culture, and how they regard dance as social justice. Throughout this research, feminist standpoint theory, Black feminist thought, and transnational feminist theory are used to connect experiences of WDoC to the decolonizing process of knowledge production. From these discussions, this research finds that the bodies of WDoC bring historical contexts into performances, through which their bodies tell stories about women of color. WDoC also decolonize the process of knowledge production through movement which carries their cultural experiences. When WDoC create performances about their experiences, it also decolonizes the knowledge production process by sharing marginalized voices.


Laura Harrison

Committee Member

Julie Kerr-Berry

Committee Member

Sachi Sekimoto

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)

Program of Study

Gender and Women’s Studies


Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright