The Fluidic Quality of Listening; Sensory Continuum in the Dance Studio

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Florence FIGOLS, Concordia University, Canada
This paper proposes to highlight the sensible continuity between speech/voice and kinesthesia/movement through an incursion into rehearsal studios and practices in the contemporary dance field.

In actual choreographic and training practices, dancers generate movement from verbal directions rather than from the “visible” information given by an already made movement sequence moving away from mimesis. Choreographers do not necessarily demonstrate a movement to be reproduced; they direct, they suggest, they propose. They give content rather than the form, the essence rather then the appearance.

Even if the choreographic work is not meant to be narrative, verbal directions are more and more present in the process. They intercede and participate in the emergence of the not-yet-manifest, trying to saturate the performers’ bodies and the space with sensible resonance. But if language can prompt a physical action, the perception of that action will also inspire the next verbal direction, creating here an on-going loop in the kinaesthetic-visual-verbal process: this invites the dancers to listen rather than looking in order to promote a new sensory ecology.

The ear receives the information from all around, in a tri-dimensional modality. Sound fills and travels trough the air, it goes “around corner” and “does not need light”; in other words it frees the dancer from watching; they can face in any direction to access the information, triggering new spatial configuration and moving away from frontality. Stressing the aural rather than the visible, involves here, the fluidic and continuous quality of listening which allows the dancer to process sensory information in simultaneity.

What are the sensible and physical resonances between speech and movement? How the voice can trigger a physical experience from within? How socio-economical contexts and somatic approaches have influenced those new ways of doing?