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Choreographic and somatic strategies for navigating bodyscapes and tensegrity schemata

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This article reflects upon the psychophysical patterning and layered nature of phenomenal experience, and the interconnectedness of bodymind and environment. These are conceptualized as ‘bodyscape’ and ‘tensegrity schema’ and explored by engaging the principles of tensegrity (tensional integrity) with reference to dance, performance and somatic practices. In some performance environments, performers may be called on to bring in and out of focus, or simultaneously hold in attention, multiple layers and shifting perspectives of bodily experience. Giving examples I suggest that such situations, together with some choreographic and somatic practices, may facilitate an attitude of embodied reflection and skills of perceptual alertness. These can develop awareness of and capacity to ‘navigate’ bodyscape and tensegrity schema, and support the performer to better cope with the often conflicting multisensory and polyattentional demands of complex environments, whether highly specialized performance modes or everyday. The discussion derives theoretical flavour from dance and performance studies, phenomenology, somaesthetics and cognitive science, and is informed by my current practice-led Ph.D. research in dance and choreography enquiring into notions of embodiment.
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Keywords: attention; bodyscape; choreography; embodiment; somatics; tensegrity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Edinburgh

Publication date: 2012-04-27

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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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