University of Vermont

University Communications

Visiting Professor, Choreographer to Give Performance, Workshop and Panel

Professor-at-Large Jennifer Monson will share her exploration of dance and its relationship to the natural world -- the migration of birds, in particular -- in a series of events on campus Sept. 23-29.

Monson, professor of dance at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, uses choreographic practice as a means to discover connections between environmental, philosophical and aesthetic approaches to knowledge. As artistic director of iLAND, a dance research organization, she creates large-scale dance projects informed and inspired by phenomena of the natural and the built environment.  

Read her full biography of the James Marsh Professor-at-Large website, a program designed to enrich the scholarly life of campus by bringing outstanding individuals of international distinction in the arts and humanities, sciences, social sciences and applied fields.

Monson's schedule of events includes:

Live Dancing Archive

Thursday – Saturday, Sept, 27-29
Mann Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Free and open to the public; seating is limited
A discussion with collaborating artists will follow the performance on Friday, Sept. 28

Monson's newest work explores the dancing body in conjunction with the moving image of video and other media as an archive of place, experience and systems. The project uses the conceptual framework of the archive to build three interrelated components: a solo performance, a video installation and an online archive. The solo has been created from the research dance footage of the Osprey Migration, a component of BIRD BRAIN, Monson’s multi-year navigational dance project following the migratory patterns of birds from New England to South America, as well as from improvisational strategies developed from the experience of dancing in the outdoors over the past 20 years.

Collaborating artists include video/new media artist Robin Vachal, composer/sound designer, Jeff Kolar and lighting designer Joe Levassuer. This performance contains nudity.

The video installation will be continuously exhibited at Mann Auditorium, Wednesday-Saturday, Sept. 26-29 from noon to 8 p.m.

Dancing as Archiving Workshop 

Sunday, Sept. 23

Mann Gymnasium, 3-6 p.m.


In this workshop, participants will create performances that are developed from historical materials either from their own life histories or from events that have significance to them. Each participant will bring in a video, audio sample, text or photo that will be used as material to create short performances during the workshop. 
Monson and Live Dancing Archive artistic collaborators will bring their own practices and experience to assist this process. Participants will work on creating performances that use movement scores with sound and light environments to evoke a sense of embodied understandings of place and history.

The workshop is limited to 20 people.

Migration, Navigation, Observation: Three approaches to the study of bird migration

Wednesday, Sept. 26
102 Aiken Center, 4:30 p.m.
A panel discussion with Jennifer Monson, Michele Patenaude and Allan Strong

Three panelists will share observational practices on the study of bird migration. Allan Strong, associate dean of the Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources, researches the factors that influence habitat quality for birds. Michele Patenaude teaches ornithology at the Community College of Vermont and works at the UVM Libraries; she will speak about the techniques used by ornithologists and how they’ve changed in recent decades. Monson's BIRD BRAIN performance was a multi-year navigational project that followed the migration of birds such as ospreys, ducks and geese.