Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna C. Owens


This thesis uses a dance/movement therapy investigative and critical lens to examine the controversial twerking phenomenon. This literature review investigates twerk’s historical, embodied, and hyperlocal cultural settings as it relates to the stigmatized sexuality of U.S. Black women, the history and effects of oversexualizing Black female sexuality that influences twerk’s negative review, the dance/movement therapy field’s cultural movement bias, and dance/movement therapy's potential as a therapeutic intervention for Black women. Racial and sexual socialization of Black female sexuality is found to be attributed to twerk’s negative review and its existence as an embodied form of resistance and liberation. In examining twerk, recommendations are made for dance/movement therapy in engaging and further expanding cultural movement competency, sexuality/sensuality discourse, and utilizing of twerk and pelvic regional movement as a potential intervention for Black women.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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