The Contemporary Performance Think Tank is housed in the John Wells Directing Program MFA at Carnegie Mellon University’s School Of Drama under the direction of Caden Manson. Each year the Think Tank focuses on a set of topics concerning the fields of Theater and Contemporary Performance and conducts research and interviews to produce a paper as a resource for practitioners. This year’s topic is contemporary performing artists and companies redefining relationships with audience and pushing the formal relationships of architecture, artist, and audience. For this paper the Think Tank chose five areas on the forefront of this research to explore; Contemporary Choreography, Mixed Reality Performance, Performance Cabaret, Immersive Theatre, and Social Engaged Art. Each section of this paper includes an introduction to the specific practice, a conversation with an artist, and a list of artists working in and around the specific practice. “What is Mixed Reality Performance?” is part of a series of posts. Check back daily to see the next posts.
“Choreography is just a frame, a structure, a language where much more than dance is inscribed.”
– Jerome Bel
“Choreography” is used here as a term for a particular performance discipline, as distinct from “choreography” as used more generally to refer to specific steps or movement sequences within a performance. There is a proliferation of terms referring to this type of work: performances by the artists discussed below have also been variously labeled as “experimental dance,” “conceptual dance,” “choreographic performance,” “downtown dance” (in NYC), even “post-dance.” I use the term “choreography” following such scholars as Bojana Cvejić and Jenn Joy, who have written extensively on the field of contemporary choreography and its context within the broader fields of dance and contemporary performance. –Philip Gates
Dana Michel is a choreographer and performer based in Montreal, Canada. Before entering the BFA in Contemporary Dance program at Concordia University in her late twenties, she was a marketing executive, competitive runner and football player. In 2011, She had the honour of being a danceWEB scholar, allowing her to deepen her research process at ImPulsTanz in Vienna, Austria.
Her practice is rooted in exploring the multiplicity of identity using intuitive improvisation. She works with notions of performative alchemy and post-cultural bricolage – using live moments, object appropriation, personal history, future desires and current preoccupations to create an empathetic centrifuge of experience between herself and witnesses. Today, her work can perhaps best be described by its influences: lucid cinematography, living sculpture, physical comedy, psychological excavation, deconstructed social commentary, the bulimic logic of Hip Hop and child-like naïveté.
Her work has been presented in North America (Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, Salt Lake City and New York City) and in Europe (Austria, Belgium, Serbia & Switzerland). Inhabiting both traditional and non-traditional spaces is a key component in the creation of her work. (Source Dana Michel Vimeo Page)
Photo Credit: Ian Douglas
If you would like a pdf of this full 16 page contemporary choreography section of the 2017 paper, please fill out the form below.