Sarah Michelson2006

As much an installation artist as a choreographer, Sarah Michelson makes rigorous, passionate, site specific dances that turn audiences upside down. Rethinking theatrical space, an audience faces the back of a familiar theatre; a work is made for two sites; performers leave through an emergency exit only to be seen later through a window onto the street outside, her events have been called architectural dance experiences. The movement. Insistent. Quick. Obsessive. Seemingly repetitive, if you don't look closely. A force field of calculated randomness performed by highly trained and untrained dancers who populate the exaggerated distances and up-close intimacy, those choreographic decisions may appear spontaneous yet they're fully calculated to brook no improvisation. Michelson draws on movies and fashion and emotionally resonant small real life gestures. Blasting her viewers with unexpected lighting changes (and what one writer termed her impudent intelligence), Michelson relentlessly thinks and tests out and thinks again about just what constitutes a dance.

"While denying the form of the epic, I try to make epics: sprawling and grand work that is as ruthlessly formal as it is personal. I create environments and structures that force a relationship with reality, with what is actually going on, and, so, highlight the history of the watcher with the room. I want to cultivate observation of excellence, virtuosity, struggle, fatigue, and boredom as elements in a work. The passionate arguments I constantly have with myself about the relevance of contemporary dance are the major contributor to the dances themselves. Driven by the desire for the problematic, the silent corners, the unseen, the quiet large thing, and for great beauty and ugliness on the stage, I am always working, always, and never arriving."