Research

Moving across dance studies and theatre and performance studies, my research specialism lies in theoretical explorations of the choreographic and in particular of its social and political character.

I think about choreography as a practice of performance that extends beyond dance and that is both contoured by and generative of dynamic cultural contexts. My interest in choreography in this expanded sense is represented, for instance, in my articles on: heterotopia, choreography, and the Middle Passage slave ship; sabotage as a dramaturgical mode in theatrical and industrial protest; and balletic 'wrongness' as queer relationality in the work of Michael Clark. My investment in researching the work of choreography across disciplines is also represented in the international conference on disco I co-organised in 2018 with colleagues in Music and Film at Sussex.

My current monograph project, Choreographies of Space, argues for a materialist concept of space for theorising the dialogical relationship of the choreographic and the social. Interweaving Marxian theories of spatial production with concepts of disposession developed in critical race theory and settler and indigenous studies, the book is about the unsteady underneath of utopian choreographic modernisms.

Through the book, I excavate the histories of spatial and racial dispossession that underwrite idealistic dances by Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Rudolf von Laban, Oskar Schlemmer, Merce Cunningham, and Boris Charmatz. My contention is that the choreographic space of these dances shapes and is shaped by various utopian impulses which conceal their cultures of social violence, namely: the imperialist drives of balletic classicism; acquisitive and settler-colonial conceptions of land in North American dance modernisms; reactionary discourses of 'the natural' in geometric conceptions of the body produced in Wilhelmine and Weimar Germany; Cunningham's choreographic idealisation of spatial democracy as the guarantor of a white settler conception of the land of the free; and the expungement of colonial histories from Charmatz’s anti-institutional interventions into metropolitan institutions of display.

A second book on rebellion at sea is in its early stages of conceptualisation. 

Selected publications

Articles:

(2019) ‘Bodily Wreckage, Economic Salvage and the Middle Passage’, Performance Research, Vol. 24, No. 5, Staging the Wreckage, (July/August 2019) [proposal accepted].

(2016) ‘Heterotopia as Choreography: Foucault’s Sailing Vessel’, Performance Research, Vol. 21, No. 3, On Dialectics, (June), pp. 6573.

(2014) ‘The Choreography of Space: Towards a Socio-Aesthetics of Dance’, New Theatre Quarterly, Vol. 30, Issue 1, (February), pp.7290.

(2012) ‘Merce Cunningham's Ensemble Space and the Black Mountain Principle of Community’, The Journal of Black Mountain College Studies, Vol. 3, www.blackmountainstudiesjournal.org/wp/?page_id=899.

Book chapters:

(forthcoming) ‘Ballet Gone Wrong: Michael Clark’s Classical Deviations’ in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet, ed. by Jill Nunes Jensen and Kathrina Farrugia-Kriel, (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

(2018) ‘Choreographing Epic: Ocean as Epic Timespace in Homer, Joyce, and Cunningham’, in Epic Performances: From the Middle Ages into the Twenty-First Century, ed. Fiona Macintosh and Justine McConnell, (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

(2017) ‘Dramaturgy and Sabotage’, in The Practice of Dramaturgy: Working on Actions in Performance, ed. Konstantina Georgelou, Efrosini Protopapa, and Danae Therodoridou, (Amsterdam: Valiz).

(2010) ‘Striking a Balance: The Apolline and Dionysiac in Contemporary Classical Choreography’, in The Ancient Dancer in The Modern World: Responses to Greek and Roman Dance, ed. Fiona Macintosh, (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp.347367.