Devotion Study #1—The American Dancer
Balanchine: Superficial Europeans are accustomed to say that American artists have no “soul.” This is wrong. America has its own spirit—cold, crystalline, luminous, hard as light. . . . Good American dancers can express clean emotion in a manner that might almost be termed angelic. By angelic I mean the quality supposedly enjoyed by the angels, who, when they relate a tragic situation, do not themselves suffer
Commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, for the 2012 Whitney Biennial.
Sarah Michelson is in residence at the Whitney from March 1 through March 11. Her residence will consist of her presence with her dancers on the fourth floor, which will be open to Biennial visitors part of the day, as well as daily performances, which require event entry tickets.
Sarah Michelson’s dances are realized through the simultaneous artistry of her choreography, scenography, costumes, and lighting design. Physical elements, whether sculptural lighting structures, floors, or costume details, often recur from dance to dance much like choreographic phrases. Through such formal repetitions and their echoes within her ever-expanding practice, Michelson overtly compels the audience to think about the complex of relationships that fundamentally exist in dance—between the choreographer, the work, the signature (style), and the artistic legacy. All of her work is thus engaged in a searching dialogue with the form and history of dance.
Devotion Study #1—The American Dancer has been developed specifically for the Biennial as re-investigation of her most recent dance, Devotion (2011). Devotion was inspired by a text written by the playwright and theater director Richard Maxwell, founder and artistic director of New York City Players and a fellow 2012 Biennial artist. Devotion Study #1—The American Dancer takes 1964 as a starting point and enacts a study of Michelson’s own dance-making history and that of the Whitney’s fourth floor.
Advance tickets and member reservations for all Sarah Michelson performances are sold out. A limited number of tickets will be available at the Museum on the day of each performance on a first-come, first-served basis (the performance is free with Museum admission, but special entry tickets are required). We encourage anyone unable to get entry tickets to join the standby line which forms a half-hour before each performance. Museum admission is required to join the standby line.
View a complete schedule of Sarah Michelson’s residency, including dates open to all Biennial visitors.