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Somatic costumes™: Traversing multi-sensorial landscapes

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This article introduces Sally E. Dean’s ‘Somatic Movement & Costume Project’ by presenting examples of the ‘somatic costumes’ created and the costume design, choreographic and pedagogic methodologies applied. ‘Somatic costumes’ aim to facilitate multi-sensorial experiences that change our relationships to ourselves, others and the environment. Although costume has been incorporated in performance for centuries, this project argues for a critical social–cultural paradigm shift: the aesthetic and movement of the performance work comes from the somatic experiences (kinaesthetic and sensorial) of the costume, rather than the costumes being designed to enhance an aesthetic already established in advance. This is also inherent in the costume design process itself: we start with what somatic experiences we would like to enhance or generate as opposed to the visual aesthetic. This approach has the potential to not only instigate new ways of moving, being, perceiving, creating, teaching and performing, but to also foster social–cultural understanding. This project aims to create bridges between somatic practices, costume design, culture and performance.
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Keywords: choreography; culture; kinaesthetic; performance; somatic costume; somatic movement

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Independent dance/theatre artist

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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  • Scene is dedicated to a critical examination of space and scenic production. The journal provides an opportunity for dynamic debate, reflection and criticism. With a strong interdisciplinary focus, we welcome articles, interviews, visual essays, reports from conferences and festivals. We want to explore new critical frameworks for the scholarship of creating a scene.
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