Stamina of Curiosity

Stamina of Curiosity is Molly Shanahan’s current three-year project including solo and ensemble movement research and multiple performance iterations.

Building on the solid foundation formed by the discoveries of the My Name is a Blackbird process, with Stamina Shanahan is further refining her singular approach to movement, which challenges contemporary notions of fitness and physique. Stamina will allow Shanahan and her collaborators to explore how the body’s inherent intelligence can be harnessed to through-compose movement and to spontaneously structure performance.

In addition to confronting the implications of extending techniques of live composition to an ensemble work, Shanahan will use Stamina to further explore the relationship between observers and the observed, a critical component of her current research.

Reflective of Shanahan’s current inquiries, Stamina of Curiosity is not the title of a single dance but a frame for extended movement research and public presentation. Stamina represents a new approach to dance creation and presentation for the Company’s artists and our audiences. By blurring the lines between the creative process and “finished work” Stamina invites performers and audiences alike to reconsider form in dance, notions of virtuosity, and the meaning of presentation vis-a-vis a dynamic exchange between dancer and audience.

Audiences of Stamina report that the work is impacting them in ways they have not previously experienced in dance. Their experiences range from meditative and transfixing to deeply kinesthetic. Audiences view Shanahan’s work on their own terms, entering or retreating from it by allowing the focus to move from the action itself to an experience of embodied observation. The performance is a container for shared experience that expands, rather than reduces, both dancer’s and audience member’s self-awareness.

Moving forward, Shanahan asks: How can I/we become ever more attuned to the shifts that occur in us when being observed? How can performance inspire an awareness that the potency of both artist and audience goes beyond appearance and cannot be captured by a reductive vocabulary?

Stay tuned for updates, writing, and announcements of public events, including workshops, performances, and opportunities for artists.


Stamina of Curiosity: Our Strange Elevations
Alverno Presents Residency and Premiere  

Click here to view a short excerpt from our premiere of Stamina of Curiosity: Our Strange Elevations.

Click here to view a short video featuring audience responses.

Click here for Zac Whittenburg's response to the performance.

Molly wrote about her process in a series of blog entries, excerpted below:

A confirmed introvert, I reveal aspects of myself in performance that I don’t in my day-to-day relationships. Memories, archetypal encounters, images, pre-verbal longings show up as and, though this was not always the case, I welcome the most occluded aspects of myself as fertile ground for creative development. I sense the presence of a universal witness when I perform, one that both transcends and contains the actual witnesses in the room. I try to be vulnerable to the flood of emotions, chemicals, sensations that take over my body (the same feelings often overwhelm me in social encounters). I have come to trust that those energetic shifts are signaling me to pay attention, get out of my own way, and settle the urge to control my body with aggressive muscular guidance. (My Dad, who is eighty, sails his boat with a similar surrender, letting the things he can’t control—wind, water— teach him about how to maneuver the things he can.)... Read full entry.


Molly Shanahan, Project Direction & Choreography
Timothy Heck, Kristina Fluty, Jessica Marasa, Benjamin Law Ensemble Members
Kathleen Aharoni, Movement Coach
Rachel Damon, Production Manager




>>  Excerpts from Stamina of Curiosity
       at Epiphany Church, May 2010
>>  Molly’s Alverno Presents Blog
>>  Alverno Presents Audience Response
>>  Excerpt from Alverno Performance
>>  Zac Whittenburg’s Review