Interviews, choreographic case studies, and historical artifacts.
Since much of Baker’s career was centered in France, it was beneficial to my research to visit France for a continuing research trip during Summer 2018. While in France, I visited Josephine Baker’s Château des Milandes in Dordogne to gather information from the grounds, museum, and tour guides (Château des Milandes, n.d.). The Château des Milandes was home to her and her Rainbow Tribe family, which is currently open for visitation and tours (Château des Milandes, n.d.). To analyze the influence Baker had on musical revue performances from past to present, I saw current dance and musical revue performances in France of the Moulin Rouge and of Nefés by Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertaal to compare them to films and reviews of Baker’s dance performances (Moulin Rouge, 2018; Bausch, 2018).
Additionally, visiting the Musée de Montmartre, a museum dedicated to the history of the cabaret and musical revue artform was included to better understand the time period and scope of Baker’s significance (Musée de Montmartre, n.d.). At the Paris Opera-Palais Garnier, I toured the “Picasso et la Danse” exhibit (Picasso et la Danse Exhibit, 2018). This temporary exhibit focused on Picasso’s works with dancers (Picasso et la Danse Exhibit, 2018). Specific to this research, Picasso featured cabaret dancers in his works during the 1890s (Picasso et la Danse Exhibit, 2018).
Upon my return from France, I choreographed a 30-minute original dance performance over the course of six weeks in fall 2018. I presented my research at the SURF Summer Research Celebration in an oral, as well as poster presentation and my Honors Capstone. The presentation of my SURF project and Honors Capstone included a thesis paper of my research, an oral presentation of my research and experiences, photographs/videos from my travels, and an originally choreographed dance performance about Baker’s life and career. The presentation and choreographed performance of the Honors Capstone, SURF, and Scholar Citizen project was on October 25, 2018 in the Albig Studio Theatre of Peters Hall for the Radford University and New River Valley (VA) communities. (To watch the performance, visit the Capstone Performance and Gallery under Research).
This research spans a century in which the world experienced dramatic shifts in globalism, social activism, technological advances, and ground-breaking artistic creations. Baker’s societal connections between the past and present are vital to further progression of society as a unified whole. A better understanding of Baker and her influence is the foundation for a better understanding of contemporary society and our future.
In March 2019, I presented my completed Honors Capstone project at the Southern Regional Honors Council (SRHC) Conference in Memphis, TN. This presentation highlighted the translation of research from France into my originally choreographed performance.
Bausch, P. (2018, July 3). Performance of Nefés by Tanztheater Wuppertaal [Dance performance]. Retrieved July 3, 2018 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, France.
Château des Milandes. (n.d.) Museum Information [Museum display captions, documents, and audio guides]. Retrieved June 30, 2018 from Château des Milandes museum in Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, France.
Moulin Rouge (2018, July 2). Performance of Fèerie [Dance performance]. Retrieved on July 2, 2018 from the Moulin Rouge in Paris, France.
Musée de Montmartre. (n.d.). Museum Information [Museum display captions, documents, and audio guides]. Retrieved July 2, 2018 from Museé de Montmartre in Paris, France.
Picasso et la Danse Exhibit. (2018, June 19-September 16). Exhibit Information [Exhibit display captions, documents, and audio guides in English]. Retrieved July 3, 2018 from Picasso el la Danse Exhibit at the Paris Opera Palais Garnier in Paris, France.
Presenting her Honors Contract at the Southern Regional Honors Council Conference in Washington, D.C. (April 2018).
Touring Josephine Baker's Château des Milandes in the Dordogne region of France.
Touring the Musée de Montmartre.
Attending a performance at the Moulin Rouge.
At the Paris Opera Palais Garnier and "Picasso et la Danse" exhibit.
Poster for La Revue de Josephine Baker: A Contemporary Perspective on the Performer and Activist's Life. (October 25, 2018).
Presenting at the Southern Regional Honors Council Conference in Memphis, TN (March 30, 2019).