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Mr Chris McMIllan

Biographical details

Christopher-Rasheem McMillan received his B.A. from Hampshire College, and his M.F.A. in Experimental Choreography from the Laban Conservatoire, London, U.K . He is currently a Ph.D candidate in the department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College, London, U.K. 

McMillan’s diverse output of work includes live performance, performance for camera, film and photographic works. His performance works have been seen at venues such as Bates Dance Festival and performance platforms such as Beyond Text: Making and Unmaking Text.

McMillan's research interest is located between a triangulation of queer studies, religious studies, and performance studies with special attention to the body. He is also interested in the correlation between 'theory and practice,' or how arts practice participates in the production of knowledge.

 

Research interests

I am first and foremost interested in the ‘body in performance', its ontology, various representations, political possibilities, and its stake in the production of knowledge. I approach this question of the performing body from two perspectives: Critical Dance Studies and Biblical Studies. This interest is situated in investigating bodily practices ranging from the everyday to proscenium performances. The last decade produced few scholarly and creative works that addressed the intersection between dance, religion and critical theory . My research analyses the cross-pollination between the bodily practice of choreography as performance, an engagement with religious-based critical theory, and the integration of both theory and practice. My research in religious theory and my work in the studio are in constant dialogue.

 

My creative work does not rest on representations of the biblical, but on the knowledge produced through performance, which is often cited as research-led practice. Critical dance scholarship insists that dance-making is a knowledge-producing practice. In terms of my biblical scholarship, I am fascinated by the ways in which queerness is often – but not always – in opposition to the Abrahamic traditions. The body – and specifically the queer body – is often viewed as an object to be punished, cleansed or controlled. One of the intersecting concepts in both biblical studies and dance studies is the body. Through investigating the way biblical texts are interpreted and deployed, I can begin to unpack the framing of the body and its relationship to religion, performance, and culture.  

 

An example of this interdisciplinary scholarship is my project Dancing In Third Space (2010-2011),research that produced two outcomes. In the first instance, I created a site-specific performance comprised of a movement solo taken from gestures found in Jerusalem’s sacred spaces by its observers, movement which was abstracted and then deployed as a way of walking between geographically-imposed boundaries. In the second instance, the same research produced an article entitled Dancing in Contested Spaces (2011),which theorised the possibility of the performing body as an archival source. This research project was not only comprised two separate but linked outputs, but also relied upon both a biblical/historical understanding of space and upon a bodily training that allowed for the observance and interpretation of movement.

 

A second example of this interdisciplinary scholarship, is the work Can These Dead Bones Live (2010) .This work uses a human skeleton and chance operations (dice) to  determine  the sequence and direction of moving body parts. Using this methodology I created a solo, which was site non-specific. This investigation involved going to graveyards in London, New York, and Millan and perfuming this solo as a moving meditation. How do dancetechnique and other studio classes fit in with this kind of embodied exploration? I am not interested in dance technique purely for the sake of virtuosity, but believe it can be a useful methodological tool that allows for infinite research and learning possibilities. To put the issue another way, what training(s) of the body allow me to bring my research to fruition and how do I train my body as a capable tool to aid me in my research aims? Finally, the value of my research rests on its methodological interdisciplinarity, which is as challenging as it is exciting. 

Types of Award - Fellowship awarded competitively

Five College Teaching & Dissertation Fellowship

Chris McMIllan (Recipient)
25 Jun 201325 Jul 2014

Activity: OtherTypes of Award - Fellowship awarded competitively

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