Molissa Fenley, one of the most influential artists of postmodern dance, has had a lasting impact on performance. In dance, she has explored extreme effort and duration in highly crafted patterns and performed with an explosive, joyous energy that infused her work with endurance, balance, and life force. She challenged modern dance orthodoxy and redefined the character of a woman's moving body in the late twentieth century, bringing postmodernized ritual to the stage. Rhythm Field is a vivid and probing portrait of Fenley's four-decade career, written by her fellow artists. The collection functions as a multifaceted look into one woman's complex performing arts legacy. The result is itself an aesthetic undertaking that investigates the ways in which Fenley straddles dance traditions, art genres, and gender norms and has been a model to the field. The collection offers several scholarly analyses of the choreographer's work, and is, above all, a vibrant record from the field. Rhythm Field sits at a necessary midpoint between criticism and scholarship.
Ann Murphy is assistant professor and chair of the Mills College Dance Department, as well as a dance critic for the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Bay Arca News Group. Molissa Fenley is a choreographer and performer based in New York City.