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Cassie Peterson

CASSIE PETERSON is a New York-based writer and thinker. She works as a psychotherapist by day, and moonlights as a dramaturge, essayist, and contemporary dance critic.


Juliana May’s newest work, Commentary = not thing is pure viscera. Guts. It is an exercise in the literal guts of the human body, the metaphoric guts of a choreographic process, and finally, “the guts” it takes to do what she and her dancers do in this piece.

A KIND OF IMPOSSIBLE: Michelle Boulé's White

Michelle Boulé’s piece, White, slowly emerges from what feels like both a literal and metaphoric darkness. It’s an extended darkness born of a long, unmerciful winter in NYC. As the city finally begins to thaw, we are eager to connect to something. Something of the body. Something of aliveness. Something of hope.

Mariana Valencia’s So Far So Much

In early September, Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory curated a night of experimental dance at the Center for Performance Research (CPR) called Not Not Back-To-School. Part of the evening featured seasoned choreographer and performer Mariana Valencia and her newest work, So Far So Much, a self-described “ethnographic experiment.” As part of a Travel and Study grant from the Jerome Foundation, Valencia spent this past summer in Mexico City immersed in the cumbia sonidera subcultural street-dancing tradition.

Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith’s Rude World

I walk into what looks like a small black box theater with risers on either side of the floor and a cool black marley under foot. Thick, black curtains and dim lights line the entire room, creating an ominous sense of depth and mystery. Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith have completely transformed the Chocolate Factory’s industrial, all-white space, rendering it a barely recognizable version of its former self.

Milka Djordjevich + Chris Peck’s MASS at The Kitchen

A large pedestal lies bare in the middle of the Kitchen’s black box theater. Gentle, blue-green lights highlight its hulking presence as a seascape score begins.


Contemporary dancer and choreographer Rebecca Brooks believes in the power of dance as a healing agent for the total body, mind, and spirit. By successfully incorporating the tenets of different body-based modalities into her movement vocabularies and expressions, she commits herself to a literal healing experience of movement.

Jennifer Monson’s Live Dancing Archive

Jennifer Monson’s most recent iteration of her Live Dancing Archive project (which premiered at New York Live Arts, October 15 – 18) proposes just that: that we should re-imagine an archive as an alive and ever-changing process, rather than merely as a fixed place for the curation of historical objects.

Additional Dancers of Note

A note from the Editor: In the same spirit of the Music section’s Undiscovered Lands, we’ve dedicated October to dancers who we believe deserve greater recognition. Spotlighted here are 16 artists who have captivated us with their virtuosity and inventiveness, their vulnerability and grace. By no means an exhaustive list, we’re excited to begin the conversation.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues