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  • Tristan Koepke

Bodily Sedimentation

All humans continuously process being and becoming, doing and undoing. The labor of dancing is both a tool for losing oneself and finding one’s self. Contemporary dancers often dedicate hours and hours to stripping away affectation, embracing an affected habitus disguised as minimalist and neutral. This process pervades, and the labor of repetitive and habitual bodily techniques often goes relatively unnoticed in the construction of identity and expression.[1]


still from Beverly Beverly Beverly

Dance-making is an archaeology of flesh, memory, and movement. A dozen years of my professional experience devoting my artistry to the processes of choreographers across the field of contemporary dance theater results in my personal “bodily sedimentation” of history.[2] This bodily sedimentation, comprised of embodied taste, choices, impulses, and habits, is experienced as orientation, a creative and bodily directionality inhabiting both space and time. Sediment suspends and is suspended. It settles and is settled. Bodily sedimentation moves and is moved by action and presence, implying both multidirectionality, and intertemporality.


I remember when my sister and I were kids, and she got a colorful sand jar for her birthday. Layers of neon colored sand settled in fascinating patterns. Within a couple days, the jar had broken, dropped on our driveway, the sand spilled across the pavement. In an effort to undo the accident, I swept up all the sand back into a new jar, only it was now all jumbled up, the rainbow so blended together that it just appeared grey.

You’re it. I’m still still still not bigger than a breadbox. I’m still still still still not sure my memory can be trusted. I don’t want to miss a thing. Perpetually noticing what should have been obvious. Hardly a car.

[1] Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology…, 56. [2] Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology…, 56.