EMBODYING THEORY

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EMBODYING THEORY
Workshop with Jess Curtis
Too often critical theory about the body is only examined through the experience of reading, writing, speaking and listening while seated at tables and in chairs in seminar rooms. At the same time, even as contemporary dance practice utilizes more theoretical discourse in the production and reception of new work, the ‘thinking’ often comes into the studio only through the voice of the dramaturge or director, the books themselves remain outside. This course is designed as a place for the meeting of theory and practice. We will bring written theory about the body, performance and everyday life into action (and question) through reading, moving, seeing, sweating, speaking, feeling, breathing, sounding, listening, and writing. We will examine physical practices as the production and transmission of knowledge and reflect critically on them in relation to the historical lines of their transmission and their relation to other discourse. Each day one relatively short reading will be examined in relation to embodied processes from the world of body-based artistic practice.
Readings will include articles by Michel de Certeau, Robin DiAngelo, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Susan Foster, Jacques Derrida and Amelia Jones. Embodied processes will include practices drawn from Mr. Curtis’ career of study of interdisciplinary performance including the forms of contemporary dance, bodywork, contact improvisation, contemporary circus, musical and vocal work, referencing through embodied transmission the bodies and physical practices of (among others) Rudolf Laban, Irmgard Bartenieff, Alwin Nikolais, Remy Charlip, Sara Shelton Mann, Steve Paxton, Meg Stuart, David Zambrano, Annie Sprinkle, Kirstie Simson, Guillermo Gomez-Peña and Fakir Musafar