Sarah Marks Mininsohn (she/her/hers) is a dance artist and dramaturg contending with mess, contradiction, and alternative modes of homemaking. Her full works and excerpts have been presented at Oberlin College, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, MARSH St. Louis, Icebox Project Space, FringeArts, Leah Stein Dance Company, Headlong Philly, Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, and the Wesleyan University Zilkha Gallery. She has self-produced evening and half-evening length performances in Philadelphia, PA and Champaign, IL.
Mininsohn has performed in dances by Tere O'Connor, Jennifer Monson, Sara Hook, Rachel Rizzuto, Headlong Dance Theater, Leah Stein, elle hong, and Dance Exchange. Mininsohn collaborates as dramaturg with Sara Hook and Kayt MacMaster. She holds an MFA in Dance with a minor in Gender and Women's Studies from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she was awarded a Humanities Research Institute Graduate Fellowship for her research on “nesting” as a theoretical and practical framework for embodied performance. She recently presented her methods at the Dance Studies Association conference and Animal Studies Institute UIUC. Mininsohn holds a BA in Dance and Sociology from Wesleyan University.
Most recently, she was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to pursue choreographic research in Northern Italy. Her project will integrate pathways of Jewish migration and relationships to urban landscape.
I work to cultivate liveliness.
I believe there is magic in being contradictory, in folding incompatible ideas, memories, and histories into a dance. Over time, my dances become lived-in homes, rowdy dinner tables, vigorous soccer games: constructed with attention to cellular detail and alive with presence.
If my dance were a home, it would seem disordered to newcomers. Upon entering, one would see the counter to the left with hair clips, scissors, the last square of parchment paper, and the section of newspaper no one cares to read. Yet this pile is far from random: it has developed specificity with time. As a choreographer, I arrange movements and ideas with strategy, prioritizing lived-in-ness. I have trouble letting go of seemingly useless things (perhaps the newspaper may be used to build a fire come winter). Instead, I brazenly form taller heaps, stuffing more and more kinetic information into small segments of time. This density of information fosters energy, intelligence, and nourishment, leaving the audience clues to fragments of stories that permeate the dance.
Here, we practice being together. I bring multiple somatic and cultural traditions into encounter, and sometimes they clash. I explore how my love and irritation towards contact improvisation, as well as my family of critical and sarcastic Jews, have shaped my choreographic choices. I seek alternatives to politeness towards these traditions. If my dance were a dinner table, we would reach over each other for seconds and thirds, then pick at the remnants with our fingers. We would talk too much, sometimes all at once. There might be tension, and that’s okay, because we return day after day. Being together is a durational practice.
We get dirty. At heart, I am a soccer kid with scraped up knees, and sport-like strategy shapes my choreographic process. I set tasks, both flippant and practical, to be performed with win-or-lose mentality. Risky partnerships emerge. We might race, or wrestle each other out of three-foot squares. There is physical rigor and strategy (repeated word) to these interactions. Soccer games and wrestling matches sometimes contend with balletic lightness and a desire to be adored by an audience.
Meeting points are ripe with possibility. I am interested in the skin as a sensuous organ and an imperfect boundary, a site of both giddiness and fear. I refuse to be seamless: stumbles and bumps receive careful rhythmic crafting. Interactions take on the cadence of conversations, which may open outward into unruly musical divergences. Passing glances and brushes are crucial.
On the most basic level, I research intimacy: how do we operate in close quarters with one another and the many stories and sensory memories that form us?