michael j. morris


My name is Michael J. Morris. I am a choreographer, performer, scholar, and educator. I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Denison University, teaching in the Department of Dance, Queer Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies.
For a full interactive CV, please visit: http://michaeljmorris.weebly.com

This blog was originally intended to serve as a platform for generating, expanding, and connecting concepts and materials that may enter or influence my creative process. It was my intention that by allowing this reflective/generative process to take place in the public arena of the web that I would be contributing to the larger process of making dance(s), the choreographic process, and other practices within the field of dance with which I am engaged more accessible to a wide range of viewers/users. By unveiling the ways in which I consider, conceive of, and create choreographic/theoretical/pedagogical/etc. concepts, it was my hope to offer the reader/viewer of dance a possible entry point into the meaningfulness of what they witness.

Since starting this blog in 2008, as I went deeper into my doctoral studies, the content/focus of this blog shifted. While much of the archived content here still holds with my initial intentions, most of my recent updates specifically focus on writing about current projects in which I am involved, or writing critically about dance, performance, and art that I see, in Columbus, OH—where I live—or during my travels. My desire is that this blog contributes to the public life and discourse of dance/performance/art being made today, responding to the work and engaging in critical dialogue about how it comes to matter.

I also blog about work related to my research addressing ecosexualities in performance at http://ecosexuality.wordpress.com.

You can email me at morrismj (at) denison (dot) edu

Thanks for visiting.


I very much appreciate your blog. Carry-on!

Comment by sofiminx

I just stumbled across your blog as I was researching the phenomenology of butoh. I’ve studied butoh since 1994 and appreciate the thoughtful and sensitive questions you raise in the intersections of butoh, sexuality, theory, practice, etc. I am currently investigating the intersection of butoh, somatics and phenomenology (a recent grad of Somatics at CIIS in San Francisco) and would like to keep up with your blog (I’ve only just found you!) I can resonate with the impact that butoh has had on your life and the question of daily integration – as well as the frustration at it feeling at once so powerful, but distant from an everyday practice. I wonder how this might relate to a cultural (Western) sense of time and how we relate to process as opposed to outcome – butoh is so much a practice of the immediate present, a literal balancing at the edge of the unknown, that to go forth into a practice w/o some sort of container or map (to orient ourselves) we may respond somatically beyond conscious awareness. . .in a way that makes us feel distant from the immediate present? Curious about cultural implications. My first butoh teacher used to say to us: “butoh is everywhere, all you have to do is pay attention and you will see.” The present moment calls to us at every moment. . .this is my experience with butoh. I look forward to reading more and intertwining with your conversations. All the best, Deborah/Kitsunebutoh

Comment by Deborah

yes yes yes. so delighted to happen upon your blog! there is a strange comfort in finding those like yourself who are looking from the inside out and the outside in and trying to make heads and tails. and bodies! i’ve been a keener into the universe of butoh for sometime, and im thrilled to just be beginning gradwork on butoh//shamanism/feminism/contemporary theatre…. yes. comforted to know you’re out there. much aloha Xt

Comment by tanja

Hi Deborah and Tanja!
So glad you made your way here. And I am truly overwhelmed by your support of my writing here.
Butoh, somatics, phenomenology, shamanism, feminism, theatre . . . these are all topics and concerns dear to my heart and work. I hope you find writings here that stir up new ideas for you on any of these practices/modalities, or at the very least offer you the comfort of knowing that there are others pursuing similar interests out there!
Thank you for inspiring me, and for reading.

ps- I know I haven’t adequately responded to most of the ideas either of you offered, and I do hope to do so, but it seemed more important to acknowledge your comments and thank you than to wait for time to reply in more depth. I hope to have that time soon.

Comment by morrismichaelj

Contemporary Dance video for Oval’s new video featuring a classically trained dancer from Berlin Staatsballet.

Comment by Tschussie

Dear M
thanks so much for leaving an on-line trace of your exploration into Nijinska’s depiction of socially determined and alternate gendered identitites in Les Noces and Les Biches. I am currently writing a paper on Le Train Bleu for a Masters in Dance Anthropology at Roehampton University in London and have found myself focusing on similar issues. It was also lovely to read your response to the multiple approaches that we can take on every dance subject. Have you published your paper on Nijinska’s work since this posting?

I look forward to following your blog.


Comment by katherine

Sorry to just leave a comment but I didn’t see a way to contact you directly.

You’d be a great addition to the Reader’s Choice dance blog contest I’ve got going on right now: http://danceadvantage.net/2010/12/08/top-dance-blog/

There is a category for Artistic Process. I hope you’ll enter and good luck!


Comment by Nichelle

Hi Nichelle,

Thank you so much for the invitation! I really appreciate that my blog is on your radar and that you think there would be the interest in it necessary to compete in best blog contest. Competition really isn’t my interest, and so I don’t think I’ll be entering, but it’s been really great to go down the list of other blogs participating and get a sense of what other [dance] writing is taking place.
Best of luck with the competition, and thanks for reading!


Comment by morrismichaelj

Hi Katherine,

Sorry that I am only now responding to your post. The end of my autumn quarter really took a lot out of me, and I lost track of blog stuff for a while.
Thank you for your kind words and interest in the Nijinska research. Nijinska continues to be a figure of great interest and inspiration for me, and I am SO GLAD that other scholars are taking an interest in her were. I presented that paper at the Midwest Slavic Studies Conference in 2009, but it has been on the back-burner for a while now. I do have interest in going back and looking at “Les Noces” with more of an application of critical theories, but even that work has been put on hold in the interest of serving other projects.
But it inspires me to know that you’re out there doing that work, and I would love to read your paper on Le Train Bleu when it is finished!

Comment by morrismichaelj

Hi, it’s great discovering your work, via, initially, the Black Spark post. I just finished writing a bit about this collective in an chapter for a book I’m working on. It’s also great to see another yogi and thinker like you–I’m an Anusara inspired teacher. I’d love to be in touch. Be well.

Comment by Shaka McGlotten

My response on your great insight about trauma (political, etc..) and the return to the body: I am menopausal and I was suffering from horrible anxiety attacks, palpitations, near-psychotic episodes, seizures last year. I had a cabinet filled with antidepressants and tranquilizers. I will tell you what the key was to my newfound health: I stood in the bathroom one night and I did this motion with my chest, it was like an exhalation, very artistic, very heartfelt, in slow motion, like fake tai chi, with a a slight unfolding of the arm and hand, an opening of the chest which I believe, literally expanded my terrified heart. That was the beginning. I was frightfully skinny, but now, I dance everyday and have no need for hormones, pills, nothing. I am well. I have established, marked my territory, regained my ground, as if the body were a battlefield, and movement were the weapons. Only then can Body become sanctuary, when all else has failed. Movement as voice, when nobody will listen. Movement as the most elemental of languages, a return to the womb where we explored in darkness, without references, inventing, or better said, discovering, a new language to heal that which the immune system has not encountered before. Bravo for your blog!

Comment by Cristina Rojo

Hi. I just wanted to invite you to see my next show opening tomorrow, October 5 at The Little Theatre Off Broadway in Grove City. You have reviewed my work in the past. So, I hope you will come see this one too. The play is Ruthless, the musical. It’s a parody musical on 5 movies. The Women, Gypsy, The Bad Seed, All About Eve, and Valley of the Dolls. It’s funny and wild. It runs for 3 weeks. I hope you can make it. Heather Carvel

Comment by Heather carvel

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