From Oklahoma!, 42nd Street, and A Chorus Line to Hairspray, Kinky Boots, and Hamilton, we have watched musical theater dance transcend conventional boundaries and open up worlds that were once unimaginable and distant. Musical theater choreography is a crucial element to the storytelling process. When dialogue, either spoken or sung, isn't fully able to express feelings, dance is there not only to heighten the emotion, but also to reveal character depths and further the plot. As an extension of expressed language, movement becomes the link that connects text and emotion, and ultimately the story and the audience. How does a choreographer go about creating effective choreography that facilitates storytelling, yet still inspires, energizes, and engages audiences? What is the process of taking a premature concept and turning it in to a living piece? What are some of the tools that a choreographer can use to design movement in non-traditional spaces or achieve a balanced vision with a cast of varied dance skills? As a dancer, educator, and choreographer, I set out to use my experience to outline the process of what it takes to create, develop, and implement choreography for a professional theater production in a thrust space, specifically, the main stage production of Evita at Orlando Shakes. The goal of this thesis was to analyze the elements of creating and implementing dance and movement within a musical, beginning with a conceptual idea, journeying through the design and application phase, and ending with a final production. Throughout this process, various methodologies were used to create choreography, such as the creative utilization of individual skill sets, the effective use of space and patterns, the precise play with instrumentation, and the careful blending of movement and dance. I also examined and explored teaching strategies that foster the confidence of both movers and dancers. The first part of this thesis focuses on research and the pre-production phase of Orlando Shakes' production of Evita. The latter half discusses the choreographic process I used to design and teach choreography and the steps it took to achieve the final product.


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Graduation Date





Weaver, Earl


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program





CFE0007918; DP0023052





Release Date

May 2020

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Included in

Dance Commons