Jennifer Monson


Doris Duke Impact Award, 2014
Dance

New York, NY and Urbana, IL

Jennifer Monson, founder of iLAND (interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art Nature and Dance), explores choreographic, improvisational, and collaborative strategies in experimental dance. Through multi-year creation processes, her works have investigated animal navigation and migration (BIRD BRAIN, 2000-2005); human impact on natural sites (iMAP/Ridgewood Reservoir, 2007); and communities in East Central Illinois dependent on the aquifer (Mahomet Aquifer Project, 2008-2010). Her recent project, Live Dancing Archive, (2013)—which received a NEFA National Dance Project grant—proposed that choreography itself is an archival practice for documenting environmental phenomena. She has received a Creative Capital Award (2000), and two Bessie Awards, among other honors. She is currently a Professor of Dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Marsh Professor at Large at the University of Vermont. Her current project, in tow, which investigates the nature of collaboration and experimentation across geographies and disciplines, will premiere at Danspace Project in the fall of 2016.

  • Jennifer Monson
  • Jennifer Monson- Live Dancing Archive (2012): http://vimeo.com/90565662
    Live Dancing Archive (2012)
  • Jennifer Monson- Collaboration with Zeena Parkins (2011): http://vimeo.com/55335915
    Collaboration with Zeena Parkins (2011)
  • Photo Credit: Chris Cameron
    in tow (MANCC Residency, 2015)
  • Photo Credit: Chris Cameron
    in tow (MANCC Residency, 2015)
  • Photo Credit: Chris Cameron
    in tow (MANCC Residency, 2015)
  • Photo Credit: Chris Cameron
    in tow (MANCC Residency, 2015)
  • Photo Credit: Chris Cameron
    in tow (MANCC Residency, 2015)
  • Photo Credit: Valerie Oliveiro
    Live Dancing Archive (2012)

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

I dance as a means of researching and experimenting with ways of generating knowledge and meaning through movement. I generate improvisational and choreographic systems as research tools that over time evolve into choreographic phenomena. I am dedicated to process, particularly interdisciplinary methods, often in collaboration with ecological areas of study. I thrive in the co-mingling of rigorous artistic and scientific practices. It brings to light the slippages, assumptions, and re-orientations that aesthetics can provide to our perception of meaning. I work with ecosystems as way of negotiating aspects of scale that are at the edge of comprehension. I am interested in how dance makes action, how it makes the invisible apparent. Over the years I have used dance as a way of articulating what is adjacent to human, breaking down the dichotomies of gender and human/nature, creating choreographies of the in-between. In Live Dancing Archive, I focused on making space for re-purposing and re-imagining past work in order to look towards the future. My artistic practice emphasizes the dancing body’s infinite potential to articulate and destabilize meanings and experiences.