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Rennie McDougall

Rennie Mcdougall is a writer from Melbourne, currently living in New York. He is working on a book about dance history in 20th century New York. More of his writing can be found at

Fractured Dialogues: Juliana May’s Folk Incest

Juliana May’s performances negotiate the complexities of trauma. Within the choreographies themselves, however, May often decentralizes trauma and catharsis instead of overtly addressing them; aggression simmers underneath the dance, occasionally surfacing before giving way to the work’s other occupations.

Mette Ingvartsen’s 21 pornographies

In 21 pornographies—Danish choreographer Mette Ingvartsen’s solo show at Performance Space New York—Ingvartsen played an army general who, after shitting on the floor

Poses at the House of Metropolitan

The Metropolitan Museum’s Battle of the Legends on June 11 showcased six of New York’s best voguers vying for the winner’s title.

The Depths to Which She is Capable

The Martha Graham Dance Company’s latest program shows the enduring strength of her legacy and the challenges for the company’s future.

Another Song, Another Feeling

“You go for the obvious,” Charles Atlas told Performing Arts Journal in 1997, discussing his films that are populated with everything from Merce Cunningham’s choreography to Leigh Bowery’s drag.

Lauren Bakst’s More Problems with Form

I once watched Lauren Bakst get accosted by a fan. A woman, intensely moved by Bakst’s performance at St. Marks Church in 2015, grabbed Bakst by both shoulders and launched into a monologue of praise that went something like this: “Oh my God, Lauren, you were so beautiful. SO beautiful! Not that you’re not always beautiful; you’re ALWAYS beautiful. But this time you were different; you were so in your body. Because sometimes I see you get in your head, you know? Because you’re so intelligent. SO intelligent!” And on and on.

Giving Voice to Collective Memory

St. Mark’s Church on 10th Street first began programming artists almost one hundred years ago, when writers such as Edna St. Vincent Millay and Kahil Gibran echoed their words into the building. Before that, the church’s Episcopal congregation worshiped, prayed, and sang in the church as early as 1799, the year the parish hall was completed.

Dancing Paula Abdul in my Living Room

Somehow Abdul, on the stage of the Shrine Auditorium in 1990, makes it look as if her dance couldn’t exist with any less space, but replicating (to the best of my ability) her dance in close quarters is a reminder of how dancers can expand the most confined of spaces. Abdul only needed a bathroom and half a mirror.

A Dancer's Worth

Since February, the Dance Artists’ National Collective (DANC) has been holding monthly meetings where a growing number of dancers and supporters are hoping to enact a nationwide movement.

Crossing the Line: Germaine Acogny's Somewhere at the Beginning

In Germaine Acogny’s performance Somewhere at the Beginning—directed by Mikaël Serre and presented at La MaMa theater as part of the Crossing the Line Festival—Acogny does strike her forehead and mark the ground and curl her wrists over her head, but it is her presence within these actions that bring her performance to life, something not easily translated into neat sentences.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2023

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