bodies and writing

These are the notes from Emilyn’s session today.

Moving, describing, witnessing, noticing, interpreting, remembering, reflecting …

This studio-based workshop introduces different modes of writing from embodied practices. We will reflect on how interweaving interactions of writing and moving can initiate research themes.

writing is something profoundly more dynamic, active, fluid, and indeed mobile and ephemeral and uncontainable than it is usually perceived as being

– Allsop and Lepecki, 2010: 2

All tasks are intended as examples of how you might conduct/expand/challenge/navigate/change your own practice as research.

Task 1: Ten-minute physical warm-up


  • What did I do?
  • What happened as I did it?
  • What are some of the generic influences/sources for my warm up?

This task evokes a creative tension between doing and noticing what I am doing. How can I be present in the moment of warming up, while also aware that I am going to write about it?

Task 2: Noticing & Describing

  • With a partner (A&B).
  • A – walk, pause and walk again. Write the action of doing.
  • B – writes what s/he sees.
  • Compare writings – doing and seeing.
  • Try to be descriptive rather than interpretive.
  • Pull out the differences in the writing.

This task draws on the phenomenological practice of ‘bracketing’ (Husserl) and whether it is possible to describe what you see without bringing your own experience to the seeing.

  • What do I notice?
  • What do I notice this time?
  • How useful is this descriptive writing to me in my research?

Task 3: Interpretation

  • A – falls slowly the floor.
  • B – interprets in writing what he sees.
  • Change roles.

What do we each bring – cultural backgrounds, age, life experience, family… to our interpretation of the action? What kind of language do we use, poetic, performative, autobiographical, pragmatic? We never not interpret (Staemmler) – yet we can be aware of when we notice and when we interpret.

Task 4: No beginning, no end

  • A – tells a story, memoire, personal narrative based on a theme (e.g. stumble, smell of toast, rain).
  • B – listen and write what stands out for you.

Reflect on what you have written, draw out starting points for further research in relation to your own practice: choreography, performance, anthropology, dance history etc…

Look at all of your writings.

  • How do you present your hand writing on the page?
  • What choreographies are at play with your words on the page?
  • What kinds of movement phrases are your words displaying?