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  • Writer's pictureTristan Koepke

Bodily Sedimentation

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

All humans continuously process doing and undoing. Being and becoming. Dancing is both a process losing and finding oneself. As contemporary dancers, we often dedicate our resources to stripping away affectation, embracing a habitus disguised as neutral and minimalist. A pervasive process. 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 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 choices, embodied taste, habits, and impulses impulses, is experienced as orientation, a bodily and creative direction that inhabits both time and space. Sediment suspends and is suspended. It settles and is settled. Bodily sedimentation moves and is moved by presence and action, implying both inter temporality and multidirectionality.

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.


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