Architecture and Choreography: Collaborations in Dance, Space and Time

Performance is on the tip of the tongue in architectural discourse and increasingly in regard to the eventfulness of space. The performative event, as liminal time and space, is a laboratory for constructing ideas and rehearsing propositions of a social, political and cultural nature in addition to formal and “performal” (functional) nature. A unique project type within this experimentation ground is the archi-choreographic collaboration—an under-recognized project type explicitly focusing on the performativity of architectural space in relation to choreographic processes and dance’s heightened forms of embodied, spatial, temporal and kinetic research.

Architecture and Choreography: Collaborations in Dance, Space and Time will be the first book dedicated to creative works at the seam between these two spatial practices and that result from collaborations between architects and choreographers. The book constructs an overview of the recent history and theoretical context underpinning the increase in archi-choreographic collaborations, and presents fifty case-studies from the last forty years. These are works of both well-established and emerging architectural practices in collaboration with choreographers who similarly are advancing practice and discourse in dance.

The performance projects are presented through essays framed through the diverse range of conceptual starting points and generative methods; the essays draw upon interviews conducted separately with the architects and choreographers illuminating the challenges and opportunities these projects afforded. Chapters discuss collage versus Gesamtkunstwerk, site/space generated works, systems of transformation, external references, disciplinary critique and authorship, amongst other topics. Photographs and drawings document both the creative process and the performed works. Architecture and Choreography uncovers a world of experimental projects and processes of collaboration that question modes of practice around embodiment, space, place, and event.

This monograph builds upon a decade of research that has incrementally taken form as the Collaborative Legacy of Merce Cunningham exhibition and as journal articles foreshadowing the book’s chapters. The book is under contract with Routledge, and publication is anticipated for spring/summer 2022.