Book Club for Dancers

With Rebecca Mackenzie

A deep dive into different techniques in fiction, exploring what they could mean for a performer; rhythm, image, gesture and symbol, landscape, the use of time, multiple voices, narrative journeys.

A novel is a place of encounter. We enter the body of the text and experience a consciousness moving through time and space. We tune into a writer’s quality of attention and ways of paying attention to direct experience.
As we encounter the body of the text, so too does the text inhabit our bodies.
How do these words rub up against our imagination?
How do they inform our doing and being in the world?
How does the text make us want to move? What does it call forth?

Through three workshops, and three novels, we will be invited to enter these places of encounter. We will read a text then meet in the studio to explore our responses. We’ll share our reading experience with each other. We will examine elements of a novel’s craft, such as time, place, rhythm, gesture. We will continue this exploration through movement, allowing our observations and ideas to inhabit a physical space. This will create a zone where our experience as readers and movers will meet, where imagination and body will speak to each other. What residue of our reading might appear in our moving – what images, stillness, use of space? As a group we will develop our own vocabulary and lens for examining texts, finding fresh ways to engage with our reading in order to inform our growth as people, readers and performers.

The workshops are led by Rebecca Mackenzie, a novelist and performer whose debut novel In a Land of Paper Gods, published in 2016 was a Red Magazine Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize.
As a performer she regularly collaborates with dance artist Seke Chimutengwende;  she is an approved teacher of Action Theater™ and teaches improvisation in both the UK and Europe. She is also a visiting tutor on the Royal Holloway Creative Writing MA and a visiting Lecturer in Improvisation at LCDS.


For dancers and performers
24 Mar, 21 Apr & 26 May | 2.30 – 4.30pm
The books are not included in the price as participants might own copies or decide to borrow them from their local library. ID has an account with Foyles, and can order copies on participants’ behalf; we will pass on any discount Foyles is able to offer us to you.
Group size
15 participants


Indicative book list

These are the kinds of novel the group may explore:

Marilynne Robinson Housekeeping

Virginia Woolf The Waves

Marguerite Duras The Lover

Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God

Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis

Alice Oswald Dart

Kurt Vonnegut Slaughter-House Five

Jenny Offill Dept. of Speculation

James Joyce Dubliners

Jane Gardam The Queen of the Tambourine

Muriel Spark The Driver’s Seat

Kazuo Ishiguro The Buried Giant