Michelle Castañeda

Michelle CastanedaMichelle CastanedaMy formative experience as a performer involved old Russian ladies who gently guided my limbs into place with friendly canes. Since then, I have explored postmodern dance, choreography, and live art. I've collaborated with U.S. and U.K. artists including Brian Lobel, Andrew Hardwidge, Eirini Kartsaki, Matt Gordon, Simon Vincenzi, Arun Storrs, and Ania Paez Palaez.

My research focuses on the intersection between performance and law—how and what the law performs. My MA thesis at Laban (London) treated the discursive and epistemological implications of "contract" as a metaphor for the performer-audience relationship. I was guest editor of a 2013 issue of the Dance Theatre Journal on performance and law, which brought together perspectives from performance makers and legal scholars. At Brown, I focus on the performance of "credibility" within asylum trials, an interest I initially developed as an undergraduate in Political Science at Yale University. In order to understand the production of truth in that context, I explore phenomena such as the embodiment of affect in witness testimony, constructions of the “good refugee” within legal discourse, and the religious/mystical roots of purportedly secular legal processes.