Pole Dance, 1997

Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler, and Anita Pace
1997, 31:18 min, color, sound

A recreation of an early collaborative piece between Mike Kelly and Tony Oursler, Pole Dance features two performers in an empty dance studio. The "dance," choreographed by Anita Pace, who is also one of the performers, is a progression of synchronized movements, with each participant gesturing with, leaning on, or interacting with long wooden poles. Aside from the hollow knocking of the poles against the floor, the only sounds are non-verbal utterances, including yells and sobbing. At times resembling a vaudeville routine, at others approaching the ritualized movements of martial arts, the dance gains an added significance from the fact that one performer is a black man dressed in white, and the other a white woman dressed in black. Against the stripped down setting, the piece is determined by the idea of duality; the interplay of the performers becomes a blank slate onto which a viewer might inscribe allegories of difference.

A collaboration between Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler, and Anita Pace, reconstructing "Pole Dance, 1977." Original Concept/Performance: The Poetics: Mike Kelley, Donald Krieger, Tony Oursler. Director/Editor: Tony Oursler. Choreography/Costumes/Props: Anita Pace. Performance: Carl Burkley, Anita Pace. Camerawork: Tony Oursler, Jean Rasenberg.


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See also