Movement Matters




Michael Workman, Moderator (Guardian US, Newcity & Sixty Inches From Center)
Lauren Warnecke (Windy City Times & SeeChicagoDance)
Sharon Hoyer (Newcity)
Michelle Kranicke (Zephyr Dance)
Laura Molzahn (Chicago Tribune)
Zachary Whittenburg (Dance Magazine contributor & Chicago Dancemakers Forum consortium member)
& others TBA



High Concept Labs
Sixty Inches From Center
Chicago Dancemakers Forum
Links Hall
Audience Architects


A program of Movement Matters, The Neo-Judson Project: Dance, Performance, Art, Politics & Philosophy, and Bridge, a 501(c)(3) organization.


With a widely acknowledged critical deficit in the approach to the popular, mainstream understanding of dance and movement studies, it’s time to examine the options. Just this year, Atlantic magazine boldly announced “The Death of the American Dance Critic,” citing the dearth of coverage and the progressively anemic list of dance critics, writers and reporters at publications of all sizes.


Reflecting on the article in Dance Magazine, critic Kristin Schwab wrote that what the Atlantic article didn’t exactly address was “the fact that criticism is dying across many forms. Newspapers are doing away with book reviews, classical music reviews, theatre reviews—the list continues.” Both publications seem to agree that, as the Atlantic noted, “pop culture has superseded high culture as the locus of critical discussion.” Given press and publishing outlets’ adaptations to the advent of online media, as well as a concurrent rise in class disparities (and their attendant cultural biases), a disproportionate degree of funding support now simply goes to the largest, most visible, already-wealthiest productions, this may all have the air of inevitability. So, given this state of things, it begs the question whether the art form is doomed to become just another “item in the experiential supermarket, a thoughtless art without memory?” or whether something can actually be done about it.


We invite members of Chicago dance community to come participate in an evening of creative convergence between members of the dance community, including dancers, critics and others, to discuss ways of nurturing this critical apparatus back to health. Presenting a panel of the city’s local critics, moderated by Workman, we will lead a conversation on and speculate as to potential directions for writing about the form.


Following the panel, in the spirit of Merce Cunningham’s online weekly Monday discussions, we will launch the Movement Matters monthly online conversation about dance, performance art, criticism, and more; Movement Matters is also a new Sixty Inches From Center column space at the intersection of dance, performance, politics, policy and issues related to the body as the locus of these and related socio-cultural dialogues on race, gender, ability and more. Each month’s columns will serve as the jumping-off point for these discussions.


This open forum will provide a place to engage in an ongoing dialogue about dance, its makers, formal concerns, histories, contemporary interests, and as a meeting place for advancing and expanding thought about the form. Conversations will be recorded and archived on the Movement Matters Facebook page.


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