Ainsley E. Tharp

dancer, choreographer, visual artist, filmmaker

23.10.2017   - 29.10.2017

Ainsley Tharp is a recent University of Iowa Graduate with a BFA in choreography and movement practices, where she has worked with faculty members at the University; performing, collaborating, and choreographing. Recently she participated in the “Indeterminacy Festival” as projection designer, compositional improviser, and creative collaborator.

While primarily a dance artist, Ainsley Tharp is drawn to other modes of artistic expression. She is currently investigating the ecosystem of performative spaces by exploring the means through which symbiosis can be reached as the moving body is embedded in an environment of multimedia artistic expressions.

Tharp is fascinated with the act of collaboration; the creative thinking space that is shared by diverse bodies and minds working together. As she continues to make new discoveries about her art, her movement, and her way of living, she strives to share curiosity and understanding in collaborative and performative environments.

After All These Years

With her multimedia performance After All These Years, Tharp aimed to reclaim the agency of movement within porn, the voyeurism of sexuality. The piece was performed during the the Beholder exhibition, Monday, October 23 2017, 6-9pm, and several times during the week of the exhibition, in cooperation with Media artist Pedro Ferreira.

A durational piece, After All These Years consists of a looped film of hypersexualized movement in the mediated culture, accompanied by an improvisational dance score. The mapped projection consist of porn clips selectively picked from the seventies soft core porn era, sexualized commercial such as the Fanta girls, found footage, sex scenes from films, and personal footage of the sexualized body. Tharp mimicks movement in the film, spontaneously taking the movement and de-sexualizing it within her own body’s movement, semi-nude. Throughout the evening the movement accumulates and becomes a dance that appears to be just movement through the medium of a young female’s nude body. The nude body then takes on the agency for the moment to exist.

Tharp is curious about how she could reclaim ownership of the movement found in porn. How can the form and figure be distilled, de-sexualized, viewed as stoic if you will. By stripping porn of the eroticism within the performance, the movement becomes vulnerable, raw, and human. She intends for the audience to question the sexualization of the moving body; to question the animalistic nature of human sexuality and the human body in general. 


July 2019, Tharp returns to SomoS, presenting her collaboration with Nathaniel Moore, Americum, an eco-sexual Oedipal exploration of desire, and a passionate critique of the American myth. The piece is presented in the solo exhibition Touch Me Tenderly by SomoS Artist-in-Residence Sophie Morrow.

Ainsley E. Tharp homepage