Queer is slippery.

Queer asks questions and is most comfortable with a wide variety of answers. It allows seemingly incongruous elements to exist in the same body and consciousness.

Queer slips in and out through the cracks of perception, allowing a glimpse—or a sense of it—for just a moment before slipping away. Queer is an absent presence—it is here, now and it is not here and not now.

Queer is self-contradictory. It is visible and invisible, solid and ephemeral.

Queer rejects normativity. It rejects duality as a useful way of approaching the world. Instead, it seeks layers of meaning and ways of being. And then, queer is something that does not want to be defined, that rejects any attempt to pin it down with words as a disservice to its way of engaging with ideas. And yet, we desire language. We desire a means to communicate our selves and our processes. We desire. Queer exists in conversation with desire, and coming into a language of desire assists in getting to a workable definition of queer.

Queer dance rejects heteronormativity, or plays with it and reshapes it into something different. Queerness in the studio can mean using a dance language to question itself. Queerness in performance strives to make an audience interrogate its positioning as the witness. Queer is open and nuanced. Queer prizes instability.


Gretchen Alterowitz is an Assistant Professor at UNC Charlotte where she teaches ballet, dance history and choreography. She presents her choreography and dance scholarship regularly at national and international dance festivals and conferences.



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