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.

Rajagopalan, associate artistic director and principal dancer of Chicago’s Natya Dance Theatre, discusses her perspective on co-authorship—one that stands in relation to a time-honored form.

Grants & Grantees

Established in 1963, Pennsylvania Ballet has extended its important Balanchine-based repertoire by presenting new works by a variety of contemporary choreographers.

Acclaimed French choreographer and experimental dancer Boris Charmatz visited Philadelphia for a residency and public presentation of his performance piece for 24 dancers, Levée des conflits (Suspension of conflicts), at Drexel’s Mandell Theater, co-presented by FringeArts, in combination with a series of interpretive programs.

The first film series on this scale dedicated to the sexual revolution, International House Philadelphia will present more than 40 commercial and underground films in early 2014.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Thelma Golden has been the director and chief curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem since 2000.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Dancer and choreographer Ronald K. Brown is the founder of Brooklyn-based contemporary dance ensemble Evidence, A Dance Company.

During the 2005–06 season, Philadelphia’s Dancefusion reconstructed Mary Anthony’s Women of Troy (1954). Dr. Linda Caruso Haviland prepared this essay for the accompanying symposium on dance preservation.

Grants & Grantees

Since 1980, Susan Hess Modern Dance has sought to grow the audience for contemporary dance and support independent dance artists in the Philadelphia community.

Gottschild conducted research for her book chronicling the life of African American ballerina Joan Myers Brown.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Michael Kiley is a composer, sound designer, performer, and educator working in dance, theater, and public installation.

Dance scholar Linda Caruso Haviland discusses Forsythe’s curiosity about and drive towards the not-yet-known (the “possibles”) within the dance structure and the dancers.

Grants & Grantees

Judd Greenstein is a composer and music presenter based in Brooklyn, NY. He curates the Ecstatic Music Festival, an annual showcase of new collaborative concerts between artists from different musical worlds.