Brooklyn Rail: In Conversation with Audre Wirtanen

This writing was published in Brooklyn Rail’s April 2021 Issue. Read my introduction below, and read or listen to the full interview on Brooklyn Rail’s website. On March 5, 2020, Audre Wirtanen danced through a stage of props—an IV stand, clipboards, doctor’s chairs—recounting experiences of mistreatment and misdiagnosis from systems that promised care. She impersonated …

being with and letting go

This writing was published as a part of Danspace Project’s Volume II of PLATFORM 2020: Utterances From The Chorus, a virtual catalogue that contains memories and reflections of the multi-week Platform. Read an excerpt below, and read the full essay here, on page 27. In the sanctuary, teetering on the edge of performance, we expand …

Responding to Eiko’s A Body in a Cemetery

I am in Green-Wood Cemetery, on my birthday, beside my parents. We are planted on a grassy slope among stone grave markers, eyes trained on Eiko–my mentor, employer, former professor, who I haven’t seen in six months. I haven’t seen her because of the pandemic, because so many people are dying. It feels right we …

Responding to Audre Wirtanen’s DX ME FIX ME

Published on Dance Enthusiast Audre’s handout, passed around after the performance of her new work, DX ME FIX ME, guides us, the audience, in how to engage with her work. Before asking us to reflect on what we experienced, she writes “Check in with yourself” “Notice you are breathing, you are on the ground.” With …

Responding to remembering Okwui Okpokwasili’s Sitting On a Man’s Head

Late March 2020. I’m so tired. I can’t figure out why. I’ve sat in front of a laptop researching disaster grants all day, but the government website keeps crashing. I baked cookies. I walked down my rainy street, veering back and forth to maintain the distance between masked neighbors. These things should not make me tired. I receive a message from a Danspace …

Responding to Melinda Ring’s Strange Engagements

I felt the internal sloshing, bumping, thumping of bone and flesh and breath on floor and skin and air. I felt the sweat dripping off his nose. I felt the squeak of the floor against her thigh.  Us, the audience, were let into a secret world of five people who flop, hump, and slap with …

Responding to Aki Sasamoto’s Phase Transition

A manipulator (not Aki) seems to know where everything goes. She takes things apart, piece by piece, drawing our attention to the little parts that make up what feels like an eccentric aunt’s attic lab. Glass casks, canisters, bespoke carts, shiny worm-like air vents. It all fits together perfectly, despite looking DIY. The manipulator shuffles …

On performing “For your pleasure but the pleasure is mine”

I performed the dance, officially, twice. On night one, I am nervous. I don’t know what to expect. I know how to do the dance, I know that in the past audiences have fueled me, given me confidence. I spend the fifteen minutes before I go on stage in the dressing room tucking and untucking …

On Eiko’s “Duet Project”

When I imagine the Duet Project as a simple image, I see Eiko as a straight line gliding steadily forward. She, the line, acts as a constant, pointing towards an inevitable truth – death? The line intersects with other perpendicular lines on its way, but these collisions never stop her. The line pushes on, pulling …

On Eiko’s “A Body In Places: Met Edition” at the Met Cloisters

I entered the chilly room to find a projector on a cart, Eiko, and images of her projecting onto the textured rounded wall. In the moment I walk in, I catch Eiko standing defiantly in the beam of light, her body tripled. There’s real Eiko, there’s the shadow of Eiko, and then there’s the image …