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Coming to terms with
the American smooth

J Michael Winward


A Thesis Presented for the 

Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Art Degree 

Concentrations: Decolonial Art Praxis & Performance Creation 

Goddard College, Washington Campus

July, 2023

CW: The video for "Making a case for 'em" features footage from a moving vehicle. The  gravestones featured in the video for "Slán Abhaile" mark the resting place of individuals who fought for Irish independence; photos were taken at the invitation of the tour guides at Glasnevin Cemetery. Additionally, the essays include discussion of blackface, brownface, colonization, cultural appropriation, and non-explicit mention of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Finally, this writing contains the occasional profanity.    


Coming to Terms with the American Smooth

(Full Essay - 26:06)

Pedagogy Statement: Steps in Time® Ballroom Dancing

Working toward an Ethic of Anti-Glamour

Ten Commandments and a Bingo Card

(Full Essay - 9:17)

Positionality Statement: Introduction to Decolonial Art Praxis

Family, Faith & Conceptions of Home

(Full Essay -18:00)


Insider Ballroom

(Full Performance - 22:30)


Making a case for 'em (2:00)

Home (00:15)

Slán Abhaile (1:05)


Presentation Tasting Menu

1. Making a case for 'em (2:00)

2. Coming to Terms with the American Smooth (Excerpt #1 - 3:43)

3. Insider Ballroom (Excerpt #1 - 3:00)

4. Pedagogy Statement (Abridged - 3:12)

5. Home (00:15)

6. Insider Ballroom (Excerpt #2 - 3:40)

7. Coming to Terms with the American Smooth (Excerpt #2 - 5:33)

8. Insider Ballroom (Excerpt #3 - 4:00)

9. Slán Abhaile (1:05)

Photo credit: Bill Windy. Image Description: Holly Stone and Michael Winward stand on the dance floor, smiling at one another, as the audience cheers for their performance of “A Queer Fascination.” 

Arthur Murray Boston Area SuperShowcase, Burlington, MA Marriott, April 15, 2023. 

“Safe journey homeward” in Irish,,

Skin City Tattoo. Dublin, Ireland. By @san_dra_tattoo. 

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