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Entangled histories, part 2: Releasing the de-generate body

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This second part of writing on the research project Releasing the Archive, undertaken by Carol Brown and Thomas Kampe in collaboration with dancers of New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC), aims to discuss notions of contemporary somaticinformed re-transmission of the work of Gertrud Bodenwieser (Vienna 1890 – Sydney 1959) as acts of cultural repair. The article unpacks, through historical texts and dancers’ notebooks, how the diasporic work of Gertrud Bodenwieser, influenced by Modernist body-culture pioneer Bess Mensendieck (c. 1866–1957 ), aimed to construct a practice of somatic realism concerned with emancipatory perspectives on twentieth century western personhood. The author discusses proto-somatic and proto-feminist roots of Bodenwieser’s corporeal practices as critical processes, and reveals how Bodenwieser’s discovery-based pedagogies invite and foster dancers’ psycho-physical agency within collaborative modes of creation. The article critiques the application of The Feldenkrais Method as a contemporary somatic modality to support the revitalizing of a re-emerging ecstatic and eccentric highly dynamic bodycoding. It contextualizes Releasing the Archive as a trans-cultural and intergenerational articulation of coming to terms with the complexities of a nearly forgotten European exiled dance legacy.
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Keywords: Ausdruckstanz; Bodenwieser; Feldenkrais Method; Körperkultur; Mensendieck; Modern dance diaspora; bodyculture

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bath Spa University

Publication date: 01 June 2017

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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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