Creative Research

Creative ResearchCreative research drives Dance at Illinois. We embrace diverse viewpoints, investigate new approaches, find connections, and immerse in the process of discovery. Our goal is not to establish a specific style or develop an end point but to explore and stretch the field of dance. We examine how Caribbean culture is expressed and lived, harness technology for interactive works, integrate mind-body practices into dance training, establish performance-centered science fairs, make dances that rupture forms and time, engage the public in rich sensory experiences of the environment and natural systems, craft mobile performance dwellings, and much more. Through investigations in our collaborative laboratories, our award-winning faculty, our current students, and our alumni engage dance in today's critical issues and generate new possibilities for future generations.

Jan Erkert

Jan Erkert Training the Next Generation of Dance ArtistsGiven the shifting landscape of the field of dance in the 21st century, questions have shaped the trajectory of my creative research in four primary areas.

Sara Hook

Sara Hook and Paul Matteson in Bored House GuestsHook's aim is to contribute to the art of dance by being a good role model/citizen, to create opportunities for other dance artists, and to make work that both honors our artistic forbears and enlivens our experience of contemporary culture. She seeks to synthesize contemporary sensibilities and training within an enduring dialogue with the ideas in masterworks of past artists. Because of a natural mistrust of trend, her investigations are often fueled by a need to embed critical comment on contemporary dance within her work. Therefore the very nature of performance is often the subject of her dances; she is compelled to reveal the tragicomic traits of the life devoted to dance.

Philip Johnston

Dido and AeneasCurrent Research Projects

My book Nina Fonaroff: The Art of Dance will be published in June 2014 by Celtic Cat Publishing in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Jennifer Monson

Jennifer Monson in Live Dancing Archivein tow was initiated as a project to acknowledge and deepen the artistic and cultural legacies I carry with me as an "experimental" cultural producer. After moving to central Illinois in 2008, I became starkly aware of other understandings of "experimental" in different geographic contexts and became interested in decentering my own New York-centric perspective. in tow is the manifestation of a new body of work, born from interdisciplinary collaboration, ecological research, and, increasingly, purely choreographic experimentation. I am keenly aware of being in a new phase as an artist.