Movement Research Performance Journal
Issue #50 is available now!

Judson Church Placard, photo by Ian Douglas

Transcripts of two speeches from Congressman John Lewis — one from 1963 and the other 2017 — wrap around Issue 50 of the Movement Research Performance Journal as front and back cover, simultaneously documenting a legacy of activism, and hopefully resounding in present collective consciousness as a reminder of the work to which we must hold ourselves accountable. There is no one-to-one correlation between these transcripts and the content in this issue, but there are links and an extension of scale beyond artistic and institutional practice into broader discussions of democracy and civic responsibility. “Work” is a line of inquiry that can be traced throughout the issue: the work an artist develops; the work that an institution does; the roles we all create and justify in local and global communities; “work” in the context of activism. Work is a collective process, especially in the multi-vocal nature of any society, social group, and certainly in performance practices.

In this vein, many of the texts in this issue reflect the ways knowledge and practices are produced situationally and relationally. In one conversation, four siblings — Sarah, Isabel, Ligia and George Lewis — talk about the connections between the culture and dynamics of the Lewis household and each of their artistic practices. In the first significant feature on the Love | Forté collective, Nia Love and Marjani Forté share their sentiments on working as an independent collective of black women/womyn artists, being parents, and showing up for each other. Wilmer Wilson looks to taisha paggett’s work as a site for the rehearsal of dynamic negotiations of touch and sociality in “Unfamiliar Intimacies.” In an interview with Stanley Love, he describes the social space of his rehearsals, often in the park on “playground cement,” and how the energy of the group supports the work.

Several artists share accounts of working through time and repetition, foregrounding accumulative practices and processes. The Daily Rituals column is a collection of responses to a call for submissions of daily rituals — repeated activities that orient, structure, support and sustain one’s life and artistic practice. Drawing from her own experience dancing in Kathy Westwater’s work, Ursula Eagly addresses the experience of dancing in a biological timeframe, the durational process of making dances and collective inquiry that circulates as ideas become imprinted on bodies. André Daughtry, reflecting on his search for a way to more deeply engage with experimental dance, writes about participating in Movement Research’s Open Performance as a practice, one that cultivates a feeling of invitation into unsure and unknown territory for both performers and audience members.

There are parts of this issue that undermine singularity in more apparent ways. Martha Wilson pays tribute to artist, mother, activist, feminist, former birthing partner, and late bandmate, Diane Torr, who pioneered “Man for a Day” workshops, giving women the tools to perform gender. Lydia Mokdessi considers the ways in which gender and power operate in the two iterations of Vanessa Anspaugh’s evening-length work, The End of Men — a piece that functions as an exploration, critique, celebration, and exorcism of a myriad of masculine archetypes. Jaime Shearn Coan contributes a performance text that defines, deconstructs, and displaces “position” in its many forms — whether a position of identity, of opinion, or of space.

Personal and institutional accountability reverberates throughout the issue. This issue also features a transcript of the first public event held by Movement Research’s Artists of Color Council — a dialogue in which some of the council’s core members open their ongoing conversations around cultural diversity, equity, and sustainable structural integration to a wider audience. Carole Maccotta’s essay lays a foundation for discourse on epistemic injustice and cultural appropriation in the performing arts by examining the controversial performance of Latifa Laâbissi’s Self Portrait Camouflage at MoMA PS1 earlier this year. Visual art curator Ana Janevski shares her thoughts on the effect of live art on institutional practice in the museum — a space which functions concurrently as exhibition apparatus, public space, and vessel of human infrastructure.

The portfolio, dedicated to 25 years of Movement Research at Judson Church, highlights the collective nature of historicizing dance practices. An archive of numbers, stories, and traces of narratives, constructed through both personal and statistical fragments, this portfolio asks readers to think about what it means to consider the history of an event, and what assemblage of information and narratives makes it possible for this event to come into view, if only ever partially. A variety of perspectives are assembled here, presenting a broad, variegated, nuanced and utterly incomplete view of MR at Judson as a venue for the production and expression of sometimes competing and sometimes cooperating cultural, political, and artistic energies.

MRPJ#50 Table of Contents is available here.

Nia Love & Marjani Forté, photos by Miana Jun


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Started in 1990, the Performance Journal is a printed forum created by and for artists, fostering the evolution of written and graphic languages that contemplate current issues of dance and performance. Published twice annually, the Performance Journal provides a unique forum for critical rigor and a multi-disciplinary readership. Writings are specifically linked to events, artists, trends, and ideas associated with the current and upcoming performance season in New York, as well as nationally and internationally. The Performance Journal has focused on artists’ of-the-moment concerns, with past topics including gender, environments, identity, technology, activism, dance writing and, most recently, an exploration of how contemporary dance negotiates with the larger culture, via a magazine format.

Editorial Team




GRAPHIC DESIGN Yotam Hadar & Sean Yendrys


PORTFOLIO EDITORS Lauren Bakst, Moriah Evans, Buck Wanner

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Matthew Lyons, Jaime Shearn Coan, Tara Aisha Willis, Ursula Eagly

AD LAYOUT Catherine Galasso, Kat Norcutt

INTERNS Heather Meehan, Aurora Prelevic, Jessica Lam

PRINTING Linco Printing, Inc.

SPECIAL THANKS Miana Jun, Karen Sherman, Carla Peterson, Catherine Levine, Amanda Loulaki, Alex Sloane, Jaime Shearn Coan, Tara Aisha Willis, Sarah Michelson, Movement Research Staff, Aurora Prelevic, J. Soto, Ian Douglas, Alex Escalante, Anja Hitzenberger, and Judson Congregants: Abigail Hastings, Grace Goodman, Leslie Dennis, Bethene Trexel

THANK YOU TO OUR ADVERTISERS 92nd Street Y, Harkness Dance Center, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Contact Quarterly, Danspace Project, Gina Gibney Dance, Inc., Hollins University, Hunter College, ImPulsTanz — Vienna International Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, Marfa Live Arts / Lower Left Collective, Nancy Stark Smith, NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, NYU Tisch Institute of Performing Arts, Ohio State University, Pentacle, Sarah Lawrence College Dance Department, Spaceworks NYC, UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, University of Michigan Department of Dance

Movement Research is one of the world’s leading laboratories for the investigation of dance and movement-based forms. Valuing the individual artist, their creative process and their vital role within society, Movement Research is dedicated to the creation and implementation of free and low-cost programs that nurture and instigate discourse and experimentation. Movement Research strives to reflect the cultural, political and economic diversity of its moving community, including artists and audiences alike.

Movement Research gratefully acknowledges public support from the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency); the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council as well as City Council Member Rosie Mendez; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s Manhattan Community Award Program; and Materials for the Arts (a program of NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Sanitation, and NYC Department of Education). Movement Research also gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions of private support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Davis/Dauray Family Fund; Harkness Foundation for Dance; Howard Gilman Foundation; James E. Robison Foundation; Jerome Foundation; Marta Heflin Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; New York Community Trust Edward & Sally Van Lier Fund; NYU Community Fund; Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; Trust for Mutual Understanding; Valentine Perry Snyder Fund; from MRX partners Asian Cultural Council; CEC ArtsLink; and Konstnärsnämnden/The Swedish Arts Grants Committee; and from all of the dear Friends of Movement Research, who contribute financial support, labor and love.

Thanks always to the clergy, staff and congregation of Judson Church; Judson continues to be a beacon for free spirits in the arts and politics and a leader among progressive faith communities in the city and nation for over 100 years. Enormous gratitude to Frances Alenikoff (1920–2012), founder of Eden’s Expressway, and to her daughter Francesca Rheannon and family, for their continuing belief in the mission of Movement Research and for keeping alive Frances’ spirited example of what lifelong artistry is. Special thanks to Abrons Arts Center, Danspace Project, and Gibney Dance Center for their ongoing partnerships; and to East Village Dance Project and GOH Productions, owners and operators of Avenue C Studio.

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