Site-specific dance refuses the confines of a concert stage. From sidewalks to airports, bridges to buildings, choreographers are reshaping our conventional notions of performance. When a dance piece is conceived in relation to a particular place (and is therefore “site-specific”) the location becomes as much a part of the performance as the dancer’s body. Brought out into the world, dance expands its imaginative repertoire, engages with new audiences, and helps reinvigorate a sense of communal space.
Site-specific dance performance, which rose out of the dance experiments of postmodern and avant-garde choreographers of the 1960s and 70s, continues to permeate the contemporary dance world. Last week, celebrated dancer-choreographer Benjamin Millepied premiered the first in his series of site-specific dance performances through Los Angeles' MOCA museum. A few weeks earlier in London, Elizabeth Streb and her extreme dance company took to famous landmarks around the city, dancing atop the London Eye, the Millenium Bridge, and City Hall to name a few.
From NoĆ©mie Lafrance's company dancing atop the Gehry designed Richard B. Fisher Center in Upstate New York, to Trisha Brown's famous Roof Piece restaged atop buildings overlooking the Chelsea High Line, click on for our favorite site-specific dances in recent years.