Published June 30, 2021
Assistant Professor of Dance Studies Ariel Nereson, PhD, is among six scholars from across the country to be selected as a 2021 Dance Research Fellow by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ Jerome Robbins Dance Division. Chosen from a diverse collection of applicants, the researchers will explore “the complex relationship between dance and democracy.” Nereson’s project is titled Plague Dances: Revisiting Bill T. Jones' AIDS Archive in the Time of COVID.
Plague Dances brings together ideas and practices from Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane's choreography, critical race theory, and queer studies in order to make visible the ongoing contributions of queer artists of color to reimagining collectivity. Through highlighting archival materials, the project will show how artists have been developing tools that can address the urgencies of our contemporary moment, when the convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and institutionalized racial violence demand revitalized democratic formations.
Each fellow will receive a stipend of $7,500 and a research period from July 1 to December 31, 2021 to complete their work. The fellows will also benefit from the assistance of the Dance Division's curatorial and reference staff. The Fellows will showcase the outcome of their research in a presentation or performance at a day-long symposium on Friday, January 28, 2022. The symposium-which serves as the culmination of the fellowship-is free and open to the public.
“I am honored to receive this recognition of my work from one of the most enduring sources of support for research in the performing arts, the New York Public Library,” Nereson said. “Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2022, and I am thrilled that my research into their late 1980s and early 1990s works responding to the AIDS crisis aligns with this celebration of performance as worldmaking. During my time as a Dance Research Fellow at the Library for the Performing Arts I will be working alongside archivists, librarians, and my fellow fellows in the newly acquired Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane collection, which documents the creative practice of one of the most influential dance companies in US American performance history."
Ariel Nereson, PhD, is a dance scholar, educator, and practitioner, and the current Director of Graduate Dance. Broadly, her research considers the relation of performance histories to practices of racial violence and white supremacy in the US, with a focus on the intersection of racialization, embodiment, and movement-based performance. She is the author of Democracy Moving: Bill T. Jones, Contemporary American Performance, and the Racial Past, forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press in early 2022.