Jennifer Lacey

Doris Duke Impact Award, 2014

New York, NY and Paris, France

Jennifer Lacey’s choreographic practice is based on an interrogative development; producing aesthetic rules, body vocabulary, and behaviors specific to each piece, which are often—but not always—performative. Her work, I Heart Lygia Clark (2011), was a "therapy without pathology" for one audience member and three dancer therapists; and her collaboration with Doris Duke Artist Wally Cardona, Tool is Loot, was created after a series of performances with “dramaturgs,” who had no experience in dance. Her work has been presented at international venues including PS122, the Kitchen, ImPulsTanz, The Tate Modern, the Biennale de Lyon, Tanzquatier Vienna, Centre Pompidou, and Kyoto Arts Center, often in close collaboration with visual artist Nadia Lauro. She has been instrumental in developing several professional programs such as the Essaies programme (Centre National de la Dance in Angers, France, director Emmanuelle Huhyn) and "TTT/ Impulstanz," a European Union-funded laboratory for artists who teach. In March 2014, she premiered The Set Up: Heni Winahyuningsih, part of a multi-year project initiated by Wally Cardona and made in dialogue with dance "masters" from around the world.

  • Photo Credit: Ian Douglas
    Tool is Loot (2011)
  • Jennifer Lacey- Tool Is Loot (2011):
    Tool Is Loot (2011)
  • Photo Credit: Ian Douglas Courtesy: American Realness
    Gattica (2012)
  • Photo Credit: Ian Douglas Courtesy: American Realness
    Gattica (2012)
  • Jennifer Lacey- I Heart Lygia Clark (2011):
    Credit: An excerpt from the film "talk to him" by Martha Popivoda
    I Heart Lygia Clark (2011)

Artistically, what do you do & why do you do it?

I make dances through a variety of mediums: stages, workshops, books, exhibits, film, and rumor. Making dances is an ontological pursuit and the field that has preoccupied me is dance itself: the terrain of its creation and its reception, the "how” of its affect. I base my choreographic practice in the development of processes specific to each project and its resources of production. These methods produce the esthetic rules, the body vocabulary and the behavior of each piece. My sense of what a dance can be continues to evolve in relation to my shifting, life-long dance practice. Bodies are always both intimate and unknown, always both abstract and a product of context seething with meaning. The dances I make allow that these circumstances be a terrain to inhabit, not a problem to resolve. This terrain affords different energetic and intellectual responses to contradiction and the sensation of meaning. They make a space for a unfamiliar experience of comprehension. This is necessary for me, and I believe necessary for others. For someone who has never seen my work, I would say that its most consistent quality is a coaxing strangeness. Humor and generosity and what exceeds the body are important.