22 April
University of Roehampton

Ruth Gibson (C-DaRE) will be speaking at Dance Fields ‘Staking a Claim for Dance Studies in the 21st Century’. Ruth will be leading a practical session with Dr Carol Brown, (University of Auckland). Read more…

If dance studies as a field draws upon diverse contexts, knowledges and histories, it is also in the 21st century an assemblage of corporealities, agencies, environments and designs, both human and non-human. This scholarly intervention proposes a reconvening of the field of dance studies through the affordances of new media. It draws upon transdisciplinary research into contemporary modes of kinaesthetic experience within a tangled network incorporating somatic knowledge, site-responsive choreography and virtual environments. Imagery from the natural world, as well as constructions of what it is to ‘dance naturally,’ have informed dance as a disciplinary field since its modernist origins (Carter & Fensham 2011). But assumptions about the dancing body as a corporeal subject, and the locus for a ‘field’ of knowledge, with connotations of a defined terrain that is physically locatable, are radically altered in the 21st century as we become increasingly saturated, networked and programmed with media that shunts us out of the realm of the human and into the realm of the posthuman (Hayles 2006). If we are fusions of human and technology, a challenge for dance studies is how to navigate kinaesthetic experience in ways that open understandings and potentials for this altered sense of agency.

This requires moving beyond historical constructions of the ‘natural’ in dance and exploring ‘kinesfields’ that enfold multiple conceptions of space, time and matter (Schiller 2003). We are here and we are everywhere at once is an inter-disciplinary project exploring the fractal sense of embodiment that comes from dancing in mixed reality environments. It experiments with how choreography, coding and cultural narratives meet through somatic sensing. Drawing on Skinner Releasing Technique, images from physical environments affect and inform dancers improvisations in a Motion Capture Studio. The dancers are simultaneously active in tailor-made virtual environments accessed through Virtual Reality headsets. To participate in this experience attendees will be given the opportunity to don a headset and be motion captured. In questioning the status of corporeality as a site for dance as a disciplinary field, this intervention engages in choreographic loops of connection between response, action and experience across physical and virtual thresholds.

Delegates will be invited to navigate their own kinaesthetic stories within an expanded vision of dance studies in the digital age.

University of Roehampton
Elm Grove Conference Centre
Roehampton Lane
SW15 5PH

more information and conference schedule: