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MANCC Welcomes Juliana F. May

Published May 16, 2018

Folk Incest

May 12 – 23

The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography is pleased to host Visiting Artist Juliana F. May in residence to continue to develop her project Folk Incest.

Juliana F. May’s choreography has been described as “beyond reproach and repression…beyond shame or guilt,” and “the bodies [in her work], uncensored” (Cassie Peterson, Brooklyn Rail). Since graduating from Oberlin College in 2002 with a BA in dance and art history, May has created nine works, including seven evening-length pieces. Since then, she received an MFA in Choreography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, fellowships from the Guggenheim and New York Foundation for the Arts, and commissions and presentations from Dance Theater Workshop, New York Live Arts, The Chocolate Factory, The Joyce Soho, and American Realness.

Folk Incest explores uncomfortable arousal, sexual trauma, and the fetishization of young girls. Seeking to expose compulsivity as a mechanism for both coping and adapting, May is interested in looking at unconscious motivations and defensive operations, like hypervigilance in an effort to lament, admonish, and re-perform various systems of oppression that silence and make bodies invisible.

In keeping with her previous works, May continues to mine uncomfortable truths, revealing both their mundane and horrifying qualities. Exploring the residue of daily interactions, May seeks to expose unthinkable thoughts that fester unconsciously.

This project signals a shift in May’s creative process, as she upends her long-standing, primarily physical practice. While still attending to formal concerns, such as repetition and directionality, May’s choreographic strategies will shift focus from specific movement languages to spoken subject matter to unearth a new form.

While at MANCC, May and her collaborators will continue to generate text, vocalizations, and images driven by their personal narratives, and content will then be mapped through an iterative editing process. The final form will be a play, a dance, a confessional, a personal testimony compressed to create a new non-fiction.

At MANCC, May will further her investigation from three points of departure: 1) the lineage of post modernism, 2) the evolution of feminist theory, and 3) how trauma is housed and processed in the body. To deepen her inquiries she will meet with FSU’s Dr. Robin Truth Goodman, Professor of English who specializes in feminist theory. She’ll also explore how people are able to shift their identities by working with Costumer and Make-up Artist, Sarah Jahnke from the FSU Department of Theatre, and by attending/observing a local Renaissance Fair.

As a part of MANCC’s Embedded Writers Initiative, May and her collaborators will be joined in residence by Rennie McDougall, a writer and dancer based in New York. This initiative, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is designed to support the re-imagining of dance writing conventions in order to better respond to and engage with a wider range of ever-evolving contemporary forms in dance and performance. As a writer and artist who is intimately familiar with May’s work and process, McDougall will continue their partnership at MANCC to provide further context to May’s work.

May will host a public work-in-progress showing on Monday, May 21st, at 3:30PM in the Montgomery Hall Black Box Studio. Please reserve a seat by RSVPing to

Folk Incest will premiere at Abrons Art Center in New York City in the Fall of 2018.


Work-in-Progress Showing

Monday, May 21, 3:30PM
Montgomery Hall, Black Box Studio
RSVP by emailing

Engagements with Scholars/Experts

Southern Shakespeare Festival & Renaissance Fair, May 13, Cascades Park
Dr. Robin Truth Goodman, Professor of English, Specialist in feminist theory as a critique of neoliberal idealogies
Professor Sarah Jahnke, Costume Shop Manager/Make-up Artist FSU School of Theatre

The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), at the FSU School of Dance, is a choreographic research and development center whose mission is to raise the value of the creative process in dance.