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 2012 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.
Sarah Michelson’s work is on view in the Museum’s fourth floor galleries. She is also in residence on the Museum’s fourth floor from March 1 through 11.