Document Type


Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Jeanine McCain


The scarcity of trans dancers in dance history, dance spaces, and dance research suggests a need for greater understanding of this group and how their needs are and are not being met in dance. This qualitative study explores the experiences of transgender, nonbinary, and otherwise gender-nonconforming dancers in concert, commercial, and social dance forms. Interviews with 10 participants from the US and Australia emphasize dance as a valuable space for gender exploration, but also highlight a lack of media representation for this population and argue that what representation does exist is often objectifying and tokenizing. Participants also shed light on a variety of barriers to participation in dance including highly gendered technique, body expectations, dress code, and dance roles, ignorance and discrimination from instructors and directors, and gendered dressing rooms and bathrooms. In future, participants hope that dance will become more inclusive and intersectional, that roles, technique, and facilities will become less gendered, and that facilitators will move towards more trans-inclusive attitudes and language use.


Independent research conducted for the Capstone course, DANC-462 at Ursinus College.

An annotated bibliography is also available as a supplemental file.

Erica Best Annotated Bibliography 2021.docx (33 kB)
Annotated Bibliography

Open Access

Available to all.