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Transmitting the body

When dance is deeply rooted in experience and, as such, an expression thereof, how can these practices be transmitted, taught, or become a part of dance history? Whereas choreography has long been regarded as creating fixed sets of steps, contemporary dance practices and education place much greater emphasis on open choreographic forms, flexible approaches to learning, and subtle explorations of the communicative facets intrinsic to movement. Various dance artists and movement researchers have developed a wide spectrum of tools to communicate the principles of their experience-based artistic research.

The research project ‘Transmitting the Body’ will investigate how these tools necessitate a profound reconsideration of the processes of transmission, teaching methods, and the formation of heritage or legacies in contemporary dance. The project will address these issues by looking at specific movement practices developed by Lisa Nelson, Merce Cunningham, Hubert Godard, and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. Practice-based inquiries into their movement principles through workshops will be combined with extensive documentation, interviews, and literature study. As such, the project will shed new light on how transmission, learning, and heritage/legacy in dance are interconnected. These insights will support dance artists, researchers, and educators in developing practice-specific vocabularies that communicate clearly about what is envisioned when choreography is transmitted in and through the body.

Image © Letizia Marotta