Training bodies to matter

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Abstract:

This essay traces three different pedagogical situations in which I try to shift what I see as the negative corporeal dynamics of our contemporary moment, one body at a time. Drawing examples from my experiences with the body-to-body interactions of Contact Improvisation, the dance form that first brought me into dance thirty years ago; Bridging the Body/Mind Divide, a first-year seminar taught to a general range of students at Oberlin College in Ohio, USA; and Girls in Motion, the after-school programme I run for adolescent girls at a local school, I present examples of skills that I believe create an important somatic foundation for a more mindful being-in-the-world. In these examples of corporeal rhetorics, I consciously harness the persuasive force of movement experiences to convince my students there is a better way to dwell in their bodies and in this twenty-first-century world.

Keywords: Contact Improvisation; adolescent girls; body-mind; pedagogy; phenomenology; somatics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jdsp.1.2.143_1

Affiliations: Oberlin College.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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  • This journal focuses on the relationship between dance and somatic practices, and the influence of this body of practice on the wider performing arts. The journal will be aimed at scholars and artists, providing a space for practitioners and theorists to debate the work, to consider the impact and influence of the work on performance, the interventions that somatic practices can have on other disciplines and the implications for research and teaching.
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