Embodied Memory: Heather Maloney's In This Place

Local choreographer and performer Heather Maloney likes to disassemble the ways that we think, see, feel, and move through space. Lately, she and her collaborators Joanne Barrett and Shaneeka Harrell have been conducting experiments in memory. They are deep in the process of building In This Place, a new physical theater project premiering this week.

For this project, Maloney will be stepping outside of Inkub8, her Wynwood dance lab, to explore FUNDarte's On.Stage.Black.Box theater at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium. She recently took a break from rehearsals to tell us what she's been up to.

Cultist: What's at the core of this project?
Heather Maloney:
There are three performers,

and we each started with our first memory of our house -- walking

through the house and speaking about what we see and where things are

located. Memories are inherently spatial, and this piece brings it back

to the idea of the body being the container of memory.

Once you opened up your memory box, were you able to see and feel more than you expected?

But they are still partial pictures. If you're looking at your first

house, for example, the picture never becomes complete. In my own house,

I don't remember my parents' room or what it looks like above the

kitchen counter because I was short. So the picture never gets


Has it been therapeutic for you?
I don't know

if therapeutic is word for it, but remembering to remember brings a

sense of recognizing one's parts. And also the randomness of what those

parts are. It's really interesting what we carry with us. And I think

the randomness brings a sense of acceptance or humor.

Do you expect the viewer to enter into your memory? Or their own?

the physicality of partial memories, the viewer creates their own

partial pictures, usually in relationship to their own memory. And one

of the things I'm very interested in as a choreographer is generating

"state" -- a state that holds the conceptual and emotional intention.

From there, the architecture is built. The characters are very

researched, and the artifacts of the gestural language are in place. But

then it all gets arranged in the moment of the performance. One of the

reasons I really like working with states is that they are generated in

relationship to the subconscious of the performer as well as the


Is this a way to let go of your individuality for a moment?
Yes, but in a way, two things are happening at the same time -- the internal landscape meets the exterior landscape.

And for this project, you've stepped outside of your home base at Inkub8.

This year FundArte is presenting several different Miami-based artists

in the black-box space at the auditorium. Which is a really awesome

space. What's cool about it is that it's large, because it's an opera

house, so it has a huge seating area and all of the technology and

lights and space. You can really transform it. You have choices around

where the audience is or how you use it. And a full grid, in terms of

lighting. So it's a great space, and a needed space for artists who

aren't necessarily looking to be in a proscenium environment.


This Place, Friday at 8:30 p.m.; On.Stage Black.Box

Theater, Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami.

Tickets cost $20; call 800-745-3000 or visit or

--Annie Hollingsworth,

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Miami New Times staff