Hosted by PAL on Sunday 19th June 2011
Siobhan Davies Studios
85 St George’s Road
London SE1 6ER
‘We are in continuous movement, acting upon and responding to our environment. It is the means through which we learn, make sense of, and create new meanings within the world of which we are a part. Our sense of ourselves is realised in being present, moment by moment…and yet our embodied knowledge and nature remain largely absent from our personal and cultural awareness, dominated as we tend to be in the west by visual perception and the verbal conceptualising of experience.’
Dancers’ attention is focused on being present in the moving body as the raw material of choreographic creation and performance. Could the skills and knowledge that are the fruits of their inquiry and labour have a wider currency and relevance beyond Dance?
What are the questions current within dance inquiry and what kinds of knowledge embedded in its practices might fuel fruitful connections with experts in other fields?
In February 2011 PAL hosted a Lab, directed by dance artist Gill Clarke of ID, with the aim of putting movement experience and embodied knowledge at the heart of an trans-disciplinary discussion. Participants explored ways that the concerns of dance practice could act as a catalyst to promote future conversations and collaborations beyond the dance world.
This public event aimed in part to bring forward ideas generated within the Lab and to stimulate further trans-disciplinary conversations, inter -actions, fed by dancers’ knowledge and acknowledging our embodied nature.
Participants brought with them their own questions, wonderings, interests around the topic. these were accumulated onto a wall of questions:and will be posted very shortly…
Please do add your comments, post event reflections, ideas, suggested readings/viewings….
Movement and Meaning - Wall of Questions
Participants were asked to ‘bring with you a question that drives you in relation to the topic, an area you would like to explore, an experiment you would like to make happen. (You may have more than one!).
- How does one write about dance in ways that convey enough of its texture to allow readers to imagine it?
- Relationship and influence between contemporary history world and movement, choreography, aesthetics
- The connection between the moving body and the moving camera
- I am interested in how I can approach movement with people who have limited possibilities of movement because of a particular condition, regardless of what condition
- Meaningful movement for me is when a person can truly be her or him self. When the social codes and ways of behaving are secondary
- It occurs to me that our vocabulary/ies need to be unpicked eg ‘discipline’, ‘practice’, ‘flow’ ‘structure’…
- What ‘s the relation between ‘aesthetics’ and ‘efficiency’ in movement performance?
- What in (or of) dance cannot be translated to other fields?
- If dance isn’t a universal form, what is it that we are we talking about? A history? A genealogy? A sort of ‘tradition’?
- Being in the present always presupposes having lived in the past; this past is a continuously carried and transformed experience. How can a performer be stimulated and absorbed by present moment and not get lost in past? (especially when s/he performs a rehearsed material)?
- I see the meaningful mover/performer as our modern days shaman
- How can some of the methodologies used by artists throughout the creative process be used to develop better systems within the education system, healthcare, local transport, social services etc…within the community at large?
- The importance of body practices in the aid to reduce tumours
- I have two roughly equal homes. Since I have been in that situation I often get cofused when trying to cook, as if without realising it I had recipes printed on my body. Could ‘movement people’ help understand better that kind of process?
- How does( or can) dance training complement fitness training ( those who work in sport) or military training, police, security forces…?
- How is it possible to make experiential work less ‘wooley’ without losing its innate qualities?
- How do we write dance? Can we only ever write about dance? And if so what does that about describe ?
- Dance and Medical Profession – How can the methods/practices used by dancers to increase consciousness of our bodies, and thus influence our relationship with our bodies, be utilised by the individual patient to build a sense of empowerment throughout their treatment, management of chronic pain, recovery etc. …..?
- Architects and urban designers frame people’s movement, interactions, and meanings in space. Could working with dancers/choreographers help them attend better to that dimension of their work?
- How might we escape existing codes in movement? In interpretation?
- How do we get articles on the somatic viewpoint into mainstream media?!
- Movement and spirituality.
- Can we use dance as a way of stilling all the pressures and distractions which teenagers experience, to reach a point where they can access concepts and ideas – thereby allowing them to become absorbed in their learning?
- We heard that ‘perception and imagination = meaning’. Is there a correlation between the balance of these two stimuli in the performer and in the spectator? How does this work (if so)?
- Something to do with understanding ‘presence’ in relation to the overwhelming presence of screens. And how ‘consciousness’ and ‘movement/action’ fit into this puzzle.
- How does creativity and freedom in movement relate to structure and form? How does it relate to the embodiment of techniques?
- How do we account for change in a process that is in continuous movement? Starts, stops, instantaneous points.
- What would Research of exploratory work look like if we transcended mind-body division?
- How would social analysis itself change if the work of dance or research theatre (my area of work) are recognised as thinking tools?
- What happens to long, slow, processes of Reflection, if we work towards Thinking that is Responsive to the here and now?
- If cognition is understood as situated – that the practices/activities done in tandem shape thinking – then how is dance and theatre work different to Reading, Writing, Reflecting?
- What do we come to know about ourself through movement?
- Does moving away from the city mean sacrificing connections?
- How can we use creative practices/choreographic structures to foster Emotional Literacy in children and adults.
- How can we understand (and perhaps choreograph) embodied movements or language within a wider environment of energetic, spatial patterns of movement in our environment? i.e. particular social settings or urban or natural environments? Are we separate of implicit?
- How can embodied meaning created by bodies be choreographically in conversation with non-bodies? (systems, movements, trends, energetic fields…in the environment).
- I am interested in motion as e-motion. My question is: How can the moving body, as the locus of emotional experience, transmit emotion into motion?
- Can movement language ever be free from meaning?
- Where is the movement?
- Where is the meaning?
- What do we mean by ‘meaning’ in a dance context?
- How is the concept of ambiguity of meaning reconciled in movement context?
- How and where do practitioners with diverse experiences and backgrounds, fit and find an outlet in the movement context or beyond?
- As believers in the meaning of movement, is it important that we agree on all using a system to give meaning to movement e.g Laban, Jung, Kestenberg, Bartenieff? If we do not agree how else can we get our theories accepted by mainstream science/health?
- How do we find a body-speaking that can allow the knowing of movement (movement knowing) to be heard on the same level as the knowing of language (writing knowing)?
- My question, which is not really a question but as somebody new to professional dance is something I would like to know: The purpose of contemporary dance. I am familiar with therapy but I’d like to know about contemporary dance professionally.
- Arts/Science = in government/? Enquiry and verification of ideas, process, means etc. It seems to have to ‘fit’ a pre-described mould. How can we change / open up the language, modes of enquiry?
- How can we get the message out about the benefits of somatic practice?
- A genuine and in-depth engagement with the unsayable
- What might embodied knowledge reveal about what we don’t know that we don’t know as well as what we know that we don’t know
- Choreography as a political act
- How can a dancer’s corporeal intelligence help us understand dance/corporeal history?
- In what ways does the social/cultural/political context shape movement? And how does movement shape culture?
- Movement as ”intended”: for inter-cultural and inter-specied (professional) communication. How to learn? How to teach this? (re. healing, health and social care practice, research, conservation.
- What are the various modes of recording/documenting people (dancers/choreographers/others, e.g. science researchers) choose and/or prefer to adopt in the creative process? Are there differences between what is personal and what will be shared?
With thanks to the Jerwood Foundation, Esmee Fairburn and ACE.