There's huge untapped potential within contemporary dance- in performance as well as in the current burgeoning field of embodiment studies. When asked and allowed expression, dance and the body have a lot to say about improvisation, creative process, the body-mind connection, and how we process knowing and information.
I have been trying to develop my own training technique which combines internal energy practices with Release work. My goal in creating a technique is to cultivate an available, functional bodymind motivated by the similar current trend in sustainability design and permaculture: "design which is based on patterns and functions seen in nature," as opposed to the industrial revolution's treatment of the body as object and machine, subservient to the mind.
Recent explorations have been inspired by New York-based choreographer Daria Fain and her work based around the Taoist energy system of Qi Gong (see article: "Embodiment vs. Representation".)
My interpretation of the work is centered around expanding one’s perceptive networks and then "wiring" oneself or the dancers' perceptions and bodies to explore different ideas through specific perceptive filters. Playing with combining different stimuli and seeing what movement manifests, as an example, could look like this:
“Feel the spiraling of tendons and the push/pull magnetic energy between your skin and your environment.”
Sometimes I like to provide the written score with the live performance. The notation of the perceptions is interesting in itself, and also helps to create different entry points for the audience to engage with the dance. (See Score Sample)
Because the work I do with Qi Gong involves finding impulses from the place inside where energy meets physiology, the outward dance becomes very reflective of various patterns seen in nature. I have now become interested artistically, philosophically and politically of the body identified with nature and the impact this may have in our relationship to our bodies, communities and the planet in general.
As the mechanistic views of the scientific world dissolve so does my approach to the human body as previously seen as machine. I'm interested in engaging with the body as dynamic nature and as I do so, I'm noticing how patterns on the microscopic level of the body reflect similar patterns on the macrocosmic level of existence.
For example the spiraling of the DNA strand, the spiral of the heart as it forms in the womb, the spiraling of our finger prints, the spiraling outward of the inside of a flower bud, the spiral-like orbits of the planets, etc.
I have expressed these curiosities in a performance context but am also interested in creating a dialogue on dance where it is used in its tradition as a performance art as well as a legitimate mode of thought processing; seeing dance as "research embodied" to discuss and enhance philosophical, ethical, scientific concepts by introducing a new way of bodymind processing.
This direction, of using the body for experiencing subject matter usually assigned strictly to cognitive intellectual processes, such as "thinking", is an emergent field of study, and, I am so excited when I see dance, and the body welcomed within interdisciplinary dialogues.
I liken it to the same hopeful intention of sustainabilty practices where the human being is no longer seen as something separate from nature, where rural space unites with the urban, performance space with the pedestrian, and an integrated synergistic approach is welcomed within ourselves, and our environments.