We are in the world in motion. We come to know our world and each other through movement – the movement of perception, of our senses and of our bodies in action. As movement practice and performance, dance offers a unique situation for focussed study of this fundamental body-world relationality and the germination of meaningfulness in the context of change.
In his Phenomenology of Perception, philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty elaborates how movement is fundamental intentionality, an originating encounter of body-being and world opening toward each other. Our engagement within the world, with others and with difference occurs through a choreography of intention, attention and action that becomes ever more complex in our virtually connected era. In my own work with specifically experimental and improvisational dance practice and performance, I explore somatic ways of ‘thinking” that yield distinct knowledge about self, world and relationality. Like others, I believe that this somatic knowledge can contribute to positive change in our being-in-the-world – together.
My work as a dance artist/scholar, educator and writer/editor reveals my commitment to the exploration of this body-world situation and to the translation of perceptual and movement experiences in order to articulate them in language and share them with a broad public. I extend this commitment in my work with dance audiences through my performances and through facilitated conversations, with the general readership of The Dance Current through print and online media content, with an interdisciplinary academic community through practice-based research and writing, and with my students in a variety of educational contexts.
I am compelled by the challenge of embodied research and the effective translation of multidimensional movement experience into a reflective form, one that can be analyzed, theorized and shared, ultimately across disciplines. Within dance studies, we have and are evolving methods for studying movement experience that enable dialogue within and beyond the discipline. Various approaches that draw from phenomenology, psychology, Laban Movement Analysis and ethnography offer methodological tools to assist in this project. My work deploys these tools, in a critical-poetic writing process that aims to distil the salient phenomena of movement experience and draw them into language, while retaining ties to their somatic dimension.