Benjamin Maestas

As a dancer I have always been interested in spatial manipulation and how the body moves through and shapes space.  More recently I have become interested in dance in the urban environment.  Typically when one sees dance it is in a theater setting, often a proscenium stage.  The theater frames the dance for the audience creating an environment that allows for the suspension of disbelief.  However what excites me is when this frame is removed and dance is performed in the city.  This allows for the urban spaces to become the backdrop for performances. When dance is viewed in this way it allows to those who dwell in the city to see their environment in new ways.

Once this occurs the everyday become part of the performance from the cars honking on the streets, to the man waiting in the sunlight at the bus stop, to the pigeons bathing in the puddle in the alley. Your senses become very aware of these situations that would otherwise be mundane and ordinary.


The body is our physical existence in the world and the vehicle through which we understand our environment, either natural or built.  From our perspective the body becomes a central entity within space because it structures our engagement within the world.  The human body was viewed as the center of universal proportion in ancient architecture and used in the dimensioning of columns to rooms sized based on human figures.

Dance is such a useful tool for architecture as it is an art that is based in spatial manipulation and movement.  It seems completely natural that these two fields work side by side since both use space as their creative medium and both have an essential link to the human body.


With this shared view of space architecture can use dance to create new ways to approach spacial questions and use site-specific art to help others understand space.  Our bodies enclose our personal space and act as the interface for us to receive the world so why not use our bodies directly to ask spatial questions.