On the Mirror Stage
for two marimbas (2022)
The following video is an excerpt from the Samford Dance Company concert re/vise featuring the work On the Mirror Stage. The dance concert was directed by Alisa McCool and presented February 25-27, 2022. The percussionists are Edward Garner and Matthew Murphree under the music direction of Grant Dalton. Dancers performing on this piece are Macy Bell, Grace Davis, Anna Kate Medlin, Molly Sullivan, and Grace Wilson.
When Alisa McCool invited me to collaborate on a work with a mirror theme, I immediately thought of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s theory of the mirror stage. The mirror stage regards the infant’s first realization that the image seen in the mirror is that of the self, triggering a developmental explosion of relationships between mind and body and between self and other. While the mirror stage is no longer widely accepted as a feature of developmental psychology, it continues to prove valuable as a way of thinking about the relationship that each of us has with mediated images of the self and others. The five movements of this work (Discovering the mirror, Feeling threatened, Expressing aggression, Identifying with the Other, and Seeking confirmation) accord with the unfolding of Lacan’s mirror stage and may perhaps strike a chord of familiarity with our lived experience. I am deeply grateful to our two percussionists, to Prof. McCool, and to Samford Dance for the opportunity to create something together.