March 27th & 28th 

Queer: Adjective: 1. strange; odd. Verb: 1. spoil or ruin (an agreement, event) 

Queer: Is a reclaimed umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual or cisgender. Queer may be used by those who reject traditional gender identities as a broader, less conformist, and deliberately ambiguous alternative to LGBT.  

What is the queer aesthetic? What does it mean to be/look/identify queer? These questions have pushed this thesis to display the many different perspectives of the queer identity. Focusing on my own journey of acceptance in relationship to the queer and gay movements of the past, I am trying to show a human journey. All humans deal with struggle in their lives and I am merely trying to cast a light on this perspective. I hope you will take this journey into this perspective of humanity. - Michael D. Lee

Why this Space? (Mansfield Brewery)

Often Queer and LGBT individuals will flock to a place where they feel safe and separated from the heterosexual population. Warehouses and old buildings being the first to occupy. The Warehouse also represents the mold we try to produce/fit into. The feeling of being considered useless, run-down and the realization that we are beautiful in our own way, is emulated physically in the space.

The Pieces: 

(Feel free to move around the space/dancers.)

Définition de L’espace

Performers and Movement Invention:  

    Kaitlin Clow & Domonique Edwards.

Music: Claude Debussy and edited version Isao Tomita.

Note: Feel free to walk around the space and follow the performers. This improvisational score is based off of the 1950’s women who might have never gotten the chance to find out or experience their own desires of preference or queerness. 

Reclaiming (2013)

Performer: Michael D. Lee.

Note: Based off a personal experience. Monologue inspired by Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologue’s. Special thanks to Stephen Loch.

Color Shade #4

Performer: Michael D. Lee.


Performer: Jess Shell.

Music: Édith Piaf.

Video Editing: Michael D. Lee.

Note: Special Thanks to R.J. Ingram for the prompt. 

Intermission (10 Minutes)


Performers: Akinyemi Blackshear, Sarina Kurrimbukus, Stephen Loch, Camilla Smigo.

Note: Movement inspired by Alexander Technique and Jump Rhythm Jazz Technique. The movement is neither masculine or feminine.

Career Queer

Researcher: Cassandra Hlong.

Woman: Emmy Luedtke.

Music: Camille Saint-Saëns.

Note: Special thanks to all the people on Grindr, Tindr, A4A, Scruff, and Manhunt for their responses to this piece’s question.

To Be...

Performers: Akinyemi Blackshear, Domonique Edwards, Cassandra Hlong, Sarina Kurrimbukus, Michael D. Lee, Emmy Luedtke, Stephen Loch, Jess Shell, Camilla Smigo. 

Soloist’s: Trevor Helms & Kaitlin Clow. 

Note: Feel free to move from one performer to the next. This work is designed for you to move between the performers. This work questions who has the right to claim identity.


Performers: Full Cast.

Music: Composer: Joesph Colombo & Tony Murena; Giacomo Puccini. Artists: Jean-Pierre Guiran & Cherie de Boer; Leontyne Price.

Note: This piece is dedicated to all queer and gay martyrs as well as anyone who has helped the movement toward equality for all.

Talk Back (10 minutes)

This is an open space after the show to come share any experiences. It is a safe zone to share personal stories or thoughts on the show. The importance of the talk back is to create dialogue not just with the performers/choreographer and the audience, but also to create a community of all members of the show and the audience. I welcome you to stay and share any thoughts or experiences you desire to share or to listen to. 

-Michael D. Lee


Special Thank You

To the Kristina Larson Fund the Women And Gender Studies  Cone Special Projects Grant for assisting in making this a free Event.

To my Committee: Cynthia Ling Lee, Mitch Fore, Danielle Bouchard, and Sarah Cervenak. 

To Mansfield Brewery for letting me use their beautiful site. 

To the dancers for making this thesis possible. 

To all those that have supported me in the journey, including but not limited to my family, friends and cohorts, colleagues, and instructors.To Danielle Kinne and Melvin Brown for their beautiful photography.

To YOU for letting me share my thesis with you.




Michael D. Lee

Music Editing: 

Michael D. Lee


Michael D. Lee and Dancers.


Kinne Brown Photography


Michael D. Lee with Mitch Fore

Graduate Student Technical Assistant:

Stephen Loch

Stage Manager: 

Grace Duque

Technical Crew: 

Nancy Macasieb, Erick Bateman, Rebecca Johnson, 

and Sam Carranza.

House Manager:

Emily Aiken