Dance Work Examines Gender Identity and Social Constructs

February 19, 2018

“How do we live in our bodies?” is the central question asked by Lori Teague and Christine Suarez in “Rule of Thumb,” presented by the Emory Dance Program March 1 – 3 in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts Dance Studio.

Teague, director of the Emory Dance Program, originally choreographed the work in 1993, humorously blending theater and dance to expose the disparities of power pervading heterosexual relationships in a patriarchal culture. Now, Teague revisits these themes in collaboration with Suarez, an original cast member.

The 2018 version “looks more specifically at how gender identities are shaped by social constructs, labels, and the physical realities of sexism,” says Teague. This iteration of “Rule of Thumb” examines how feminist perspectives have changed and “are more awakened by the important intersection of gender, age, and race.”

The updated “Rule of Thumb” was created in part through a series of workshops focusing on stories of the body and gender identity begun in the summer of 2016. “Sharing the space with a diverse group of bodies builds important connections for expanding empathy,” Teague explains. “Every rehearsal is a series of structured improvisations where we gain access to natural states of being—those that emerge from authenticity, movement that unveils the unique textures and complexities of our gender identity.”

The work will be performed by an intergenerational cast.

Lori Teague
Teague earned an MFA from The Ohio State University and a certification in Laban Movement Studies. Her choreographic research focus emerges from the social and psychological features of human behavior, seeking authentic movement vocabularies that uniquely express our identity, our relationship to environments, and our process. Her study of contemporary movement blends together contact improvisation, improvisational performance, and the understanding of movement via somatic practices.

Christine Suarez
Suarez is a choreographer, performer, educator, activist, mother and proud Emory Alum (94C). Born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she made her first works of choreography in her parents’ backyard to the “Grease” soundtrack.  Since then, she has created sixteen evening-length dance-theater works, numerous site-specific events and dozens of dances for the theater and film. She founded SuarezDanceTheater in 2003. She is currently adjunct faculty at Santa Ana College.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1 – Saturday, March 3, with an additional 2 p.m. performance on Saturday. Tickets are available from the Arts at Emory Box Office at 404.727.5050, or online at For more information about this and other Emory Dance Program events, visit