Dancing Archives of Experience: Surfacing Histories, Staging Subjectivities

Alison Bory


Building upon the performance theory that positions the “body as archive,” this essay explores the ways in which contemporary dance choreography mines the physical archive to stage subjectivity.  Examining the “choreographic returns” of three contemporary choreographers, Jennifer Monson’s Live Dancing Archive (2012), Jennifer Lacey’s Two Discussions of an Anterior Event (2004), Meredith Monk’s Education of the Girlchild (1972), I consider how re-enacting material from their own previous dance compositions creates an “archive of experience.” In re-embodying and re-positioning past movement material, these dancemakers investigate their own embodiment, examine their own histories, and animate the records of their kinesthetic memories. 

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