Search View Archive

Jaime Shearn Coan

Jaime Shearn Coan (he/him/his) is a writer and editor who holds a PhD in English from The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is the author of the chapbook Turn it Over (2015) and co-editor of Marking the Occasion (2020) and Lost and Found: Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now (2016). Find him at or on twitter: @jaimeshearncoan.

taisha paggett’s Geography of We

Underwaters (we is ready, we is ready) premiered in the lobby gallery at the Whitney Biennial on April 16th. taisha paggett, who splits her time between L.A. and Chicago, often presents her movement-based work in galleries and museums.

a Natural dance

Natural movement. Natural setting. Natural Selection. Natural disaster. Natural as neutral, as invisible, as hegemonic. Natural as a set of conditions we hold in our laps as we sit in our seats and wait for the show to begin. Natural as the obvious choice.

Lives of (Xavier Le Roy’s) Performers: Retrospective by Xavier Le Roy

Visitor’s choice: I watch three performers as they interpret excerpts from Xavier Le Roy’s solo works (1994 – 2010). Or maybe I become the audience for a performer who is delivering a Retrospective. I might enter the second room, and be greeted by two other performers in a more informal (no dancing) environment. The last option is to enter a third room—a surprise that I will not spoil here.


When I met with Gillian Walsh to talk about her new piece, Scenario: Script to Perform, I immediately asked her about the write-up on The Kitchen’s website. It was the language, after all—phrases like “numerical codes,” “toward form and away from performance,” and “structural choreographic thought without a dance”—that got me curious. Walsh told me that she had written the text herself, in conversation with curator Matthew Lyons. Over the course of our interview, Walsh articulated the conceptual underpinnings of her work, and even more importantly, the stakes raised in making it.

Paper Trail
Will Rawls’s Settlement House

Settlement House, a two-day choreographic installation of dance, readings, and spatial interventions conceived and choreographed by Will Rawls to commemorate the centennial of the Henry Street Settlement, premiered at Abrons Arts Center on June 6, 2015

Whose Island / Who is Island

For BOFFO’s inaugural Fire Island Performance Festival, curators Andrew Kachel and Clara López Menéndez invited a group of choreographers, performance artists, and musicians to spend a week in residence, creating or adapting works responding to “the dramatic landscapes and social histories of Fire Island.” BOFFO, led by Executive Director Faris Al-Shathir, serves as one of two artist residencies on the island, along with the Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR) in Cherry Grove.

Five on the Black Hand Side / Dapline!

André M. Zachery thrives in collaborative settings. Back in June I saw Wildcat! Assembly, his collaboration with Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste and Eleni Zaharopoulos, at JACK.

Jeanine Durning’s To Being

I walked out of To Being feeling vulnerable to the world. Ejected from the bright white room into the unfamiliar streets of Long Island City, into a night balanced at the meeting point of two seasons, I found myself wondering how I was going to write about this. The whole performance was improvised, nonstop, and I had taken no notes. I felt lonely, let loose too soon.

The Evolution of the Queer Dancer

I don’t think Miguel Gutierrez knows this, but I took a dance class with him several years ago. Back then I had long hair with bangs, wore leggings, and entertained the idea of becoming a dancer.

Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room

Remember choose-your-own-adventure books? As a child, I felt overwhelmed knowing that there was always another version—it somehow made the story seem less sturdy, lent the imagination a transparent quality.

Ligia Lewis’s Sorrow Swag Disrupts Identity Politics-as-Usual

I sit in the third row, center. Synthesized chords, low and deep, reminiscent of an organ, roll out of the speakers. An electric blue light washes over the stage and a smoke machine gradually fills the space with oceanic fog—or is it early-morning mist?

Now More Than Ever, We Need This Party

I only just made it to Thirsty Mind, thanks to an extra show added on Sunday evening. I was coming back from a trip and arrived straight from the airport.

Takao Kawaguchi’s About Kazuo Ohno: Reliving the Butoh Diva’s Masterpieces

In About Kazuo Ohno, the Tokyo-based, multimedia performance artist Takao Kawaguchi performs Ohno’s iconic, improvisatory dances, learned verbatim from video recordings of the premiere performances of Admiring La Argentina (1977), My Mother (1981), and Dead Sea, Ghost, Wienerwaltz (1985).

In Conversation

ENRICO D. WEY with Jaime Shearn Coan

I met Enrico Wey during a heat wave in August 2013. Once we got to talking, Wey mentioned the genesis of his then-current project: a slim book of fragmented prose called água Viva, written by the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector.

New Works by Miguel Gutierrez, Jack Ferver, Keith Hennessy, and Luciana Achugar

At American Realness, it’s not rare to experience a feeling of déjà vu: whether you are watching new versions of shows you have seen before, or new shows by artists you know well, or new shows in familiar theater spaces. Although I try to meet each show on its own terms, in this festival setting I have a hard time not comparing and revisiting.

LYDIA OKRENT: The Work I Do Is Performing, Is Mine

Lydia Okrent is an inventor: fastening worlds to blank walls, curiosity and confidence coexisting in her gaze. The taut magnet of her body passes through space with intention and clarity.

Six Nights and Seven Sizes Later

What would have happened in 1963 if someone from the voguing ballroom scene in Harlem had come downtown to perform alongside the early postmoderns at Judson Church? This is how Harrell situates his series at the start of every performance, explaining that his intention is to create not a historical fiction, but a realm of possibility.

Friend: A Tribute to Jean Valentine

Jaime Shearn Coan is the author of Turn it Over (Argos Books, 2015) and Ph.D. student in English at The Graduate Center, CUNY.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2023

All Issues