Questions of Practice: Dance Critic Claudia La Rocco on Dancing in Museums

Museums are increasingly integrating dance into their gallery spaces, presenting live performances by leading choreographers, including Ralph Lemon at the Walker Art Center and Sarah Michelson at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. As a recent New York Times article notes, contemporary dance is “gaining a measure of parity with the visual arts in museums.”

Here, poet, critic, and teacher Claudia La Rocco addresses the question “should we dance in museums?” She argues that in order for dance to be thoughtfully integrated into the artistic life of the institution, it must be “contextualized in a larger curatorial framework.”

Poet, critic, and teacher Claudia La Rocco addresses the question “Should we dance in museums?” Filmed at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on February 4, 2015.

Claudia La Rocco’s work frequently revolves around interdisciplinary collaborations and performances. She is the author of The Best Most Useless Dress (Badlands Unlimited, 2014), and a regular contributor to Artforum and The New York Times. She founded ThePerformanceClub.org and is a member of Off the Park Press. A faculty member of the School of Visual Arts’ graduate program in Art Criticism and Writing, La Rocco also teaches at Stanford University.

Grants & Grantees

With support from the Center, the Arden has integrated visually dazzling video design into live productions and enhanced its work for young audiences.

“The Unseen Sequence – Exploring Bharatanatyam Through the Art of Malavika Sarukkai* offers a glimpse into the talent and journey of one of India’s leading choreographers and dancers.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Steve Zeitlin is the founding director of City Lore, an organization dedicated to the preservation of New York City’s—and America’s—living cultural heritage.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Julie Crosby is the producing artistic director of the Women’s Project in New York City, the nation’s oldest and largest theater dedicated to producing new plays written and directed by women.

Patricia Lent of the Merce Cunningham Trust, theater-maker Richard Schechner, and video/installation artist Sharon Hayes gather to discuss the question of reenactment in cultural practice, with UC Berkeley professor Shannon Jackson as moderator.

In June 2013, Pennsylvania Ballet presented the Center-funded company premiere of William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite, which was previewed by ABC 6 Action News.

The Kimmel Center presented a four-day program with Black Grace, all-male dance ensemble known for fusing traditional Pacific cultures with contemporary dance.

Grants & Grantees

Montgomery County Community College presented four concerts with African popular artists who derive their music from native traditions while incorporating western instruments and techniques.

Grants & Grantees

Roko Kawai is a dance artist and a 2003 Pew Fellow.

In the second iteration of the Center’s danceworkbook series, dancer and choreographer Roko Kawai reflects upon and shares images of her dance work since 1992.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Sara Kellner is the principal of Kellner Consulting, which focuses on the arts, including organizational and creative planning, public art, and fund development.

Nichole Canuso’s TAKES, which traveled to the 3LD Art & Technology Center in New York City after its Philadelphia premiere, was covered in an article by the New York Times.