Alexandra McMahon helps blend dance and questions about beauty in annual performance at Baldwin Wallace University

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BEREA, Ohio – Alexandra McMahon of Menifee was part of the Baldwin Wallace University theater and dance community that presented “fyoo zh en ‘20: The Body Politic of the Beautiful.” The annual “fyoo zh en” dance concert fuses choreography with faculty research. This year’s concert was inspired by Dr. Ana De Freitas Boe’s dissertation, “The Body Politic of the Beautiful,” on gender, sexuality and race in late 18th-century aesthetics. McMahon, a graduate of Paloma Valley High School who is majoring in theater acting and directing, served as an assistant stage manager in the production.

Boe’s research guided the choreographers through an exploration of what beauty, color and gender are and who decides what is or isn’t beautiful. The production used physicality and wit to examine the aesthetic of the human form, the lengths society goes to find, enhance and define it, and how things have changed or not in the last two-plus centuries.

Director Sara Whale said that the choreographers first selected themes from Boe’s research.

From there, she said, “Sequences of steps are born and take on their own personality, sometimes answering questions, but more often, asking them why are we so limited in what or whom we believe is beautiful? Is it centuries of reinforcement by arbiters, or in today’s society, influencers, who presume to know the definition of beauty that defines us? Why are we so obsessed with how we look and how others perceive us? Why does the color of our skin cause so much angst? Is beauty social currency?”

“Fyoo zh en ‘20: The Body Politic of the Beautiful” is one of an extensive number of performance experiences providing real-world opportunities for students at Baldwin Wallace University. Productions include plays, musicals, operas, music concerts and dance concerts. Details are available at https://www.bw.edu/events.

Baldwin Wallace University, founded in 1845, was one of the first colleges to admit students without regard to race or gender. An independent, coeducational university of 3,800 students, the university offers coursework in the liberal arts tradition in more than 80 academic areas. Located in Berea, Ohio, 12 miles from downtown Cleveland, Baldwin Wallace University offers students the cultural, educational and business advantages of a major metropolitan area.

Submitted by Baldwin Wallace University.