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Artists and scholars celebrate the development, diversity, and ethics of Puerto Rican experimental dance

Table of contents

Preface to the English Edition
Susan Homar and nibia pastrana santiago
            Introduction: Inhabiting Dance in Puerto Rico
Part I. Histories, Bodies, and Alterities
Susan Homar
            Clear the Way, We’re Coming Through! Forging a New Dance Field in Puerto Rico
Adriana Garriga-López
            Insurrectionary Bodies: Performance at the Borderlands of Governability and
nibia pastrana santiago
            against erasure, in favor of strangeness, and remember: this choreography is not a Caribbean myth, others came before it
Part II. Considerations about, from, and with Dance
Alma Concepción Suárez
            The Legacy of Gilda Navarra and the Taller de Histriones
Teresa Peña Jordán
            Transforming the Gaze: Moving Beyond Boundaries with Poetry, Testimony, and Dance
            Translated by Sarah Yates Gibson
Nelson Rivera
            Puerto Rico: Four Encounters Linking Dance, Music, and the Visual Arts
Part III. Decolonial Tasks: Improvisations, Performances, and Events
Lydia Platón Lázaro
            The Possible from the Unknown: Transformations in the Present-Present of Improvisation
Arnaldo Rodríguez Bagué
            Curating the Foro Permanente de Performance, FPP
Ramón H. Rivera-Servera
            Moving Queer Feminist Movements in the Commons … or How Puerto Rico Dances its Decolonial Desires
Part IV. To Inhabit, to Write, to Move
Alicia Díaz Concepción  
Oscar Mestey Villamil
Ñequi González Martínez
teresa hernández
Jesús Miranda Santiago (Pito)
Awilda Rodríguez Lora
Jeanne d’Arc Casas Panouze
Javier Cardona Otero
Noemí Segarra Ramírez
Karen Langevin
Pepe Álvarez Colón
Part V. MAPA: Originary Cartographies--Interviews
Alejandra Martorell
            Mapping Puerto Rico: Coordinates of Five Explorers of Dance as Performance
Interviews with:
            Petra Bravo (Hernández)
            Merián Soto
            Myrna Renaud
            Awilda Sterling-Duprey
            Viveca Vázquez
Sonia Daubón Aquino
            Guide to Informational and Bibliographic Resources on Experimental Dance in Puerto Rico
Notes on Collaborators


This first-of-its-kind book brings together writing by artists and scholars to survey the lively field of Puerto Rican experimental dance across four decades. Originally published as Habitar lo Imposible, the translation in English features essays, artist statements, and interviews plus more than 100 photos of productions, programs, posters, and scores. Throughout, Inhabiting the Impossible provides fresh, invaluable perspectives on experimentation in dance as a sustained practice that has from the start deeply engaged issues of race, gender, sexuality, and politics. The book is also enhanced by a bibliographic section with detailed resources for further study.

Dance scholar Susan Homar was, until her retirement, a professor at Universidad de Puerto Rico.
nibia pastrana santiago is an artist and choreographer based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“Enters into current conversations about the connections between corporealities, choreography, dance, geopolitics, identity construction and ideas of nation, race, gender, class and sexuality, political agency and artistic practices--and the circulation of these concepts in the Americas. The book will interest scholars, students, practitioners and those interested in Latin American cultural theory, aesthetics, political studies, anthropology, or gender and sexuality studies.”

- Anamaria Tamayo-Duque, Universidad de Antioquia

“This history of experimental dance in Puerto Rico also serves as a model for understanding the aesthetic impacts of dance within particular cultural and political contexts. Further, it foregrounds the voices of artists as it narrates the importance of dance as a mode of cultural manifestation, whether on the street, in living rooms and kitchens, within ritual sites, in abandoned, repurposed spaces, or on concert stages.”

- Jennifer Monson, University of Illinois

"Inhabiting the Impossible is a critical addition to the canon of Puerto Rican studies, expanding both how and what we understand as comprising its terrain. It insistently and artfully introduces readers to Puerto Ricans who have given their lives to making the archipelago through dance, demonstrating how dance itself is a powerful register for historical accounting."

- Jade Power-Sotomayor