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Dance as a Wound

The Feral Body

When I was a child I witnessed a tiny bird break through glass head on. It ruptured the pane with the shock, intensity and speed of a bullet, but the pane itself did not shatter. The tiny bird was caught in the hole it created in the cracked shocked surface. The bird squealed, squirmed and fought for life and for freedom like any caught and stabbed creature would. The juxtaposition between the frozen sharp fragility of the glass, and the wild pulsing throbbing creature with its eyes bulging out has stayed with me. In many ways, this image has probably been at the foundation of every piece of art I have made since then.

I am interested in dance as a wound. The wound aims to liberate the feral body, the beast, trapped inside the cultural trance of the socially constructed being. Through a preoccupation with that which is awkward, unflattering, fragile and weak, my work questions intimacy in the modern age, and corporal access to trauma. In the wound the body is re-imagined as a map made up of memory, dreams and trauma allowing for a unique way of moving that thrusts the body into the present by accessing and shifting the embodiment of the past, and sometimes, momentarily, accessing the pre-ego state in the present. Inspired by art house films, graphic novels, punk culture and human right scholarship, my work is guided by an unsatiated curiosity that weaves together, like a poetic essay, many complex ideas in a fury of elements, senses and ideas in much the same way the brutality of modern life does.

Preoccupations and Terms of Practice

dance as a wound: an exploration of the ways in which the moving body can disrupt the status quo of culture through simultaneously challenging emotional, mental and physical ideas of limitation. It functions through experiments with risk, endurance and an affinity towards that which is chaotic, vulnerable, and intimate.

Unfiltered Self: a performance technique and liberation tool that summits both performer and spectator to push beyond socially constructed boundaries of proximity, intimacy and vulnerability. It operates through an un-filtering of language, and a vigilant shedding of the multi-layers of performative identity.

Sound body: a reclamation of the moving body as an instrument and music making as a fully embodied physical act. An attempt at bringing the instrument/musician and the moving body/dancer back into the same geographic anatomic location from which they were separated in western colonization. It is a celebration and observation of how a wild creature’s physical activity is synonymous with its sonic expression.

Kinesthetic Cinema is a dance that is a film and a film that is a dance. It is an on­going experimental laboratory and research space. Kinesthetic Cinema, is a wholistic cinema practice that is created from the body through kinesthetic response, where the act of capturing, editing and even lighting the film is created through movement and embodiment, resulting in a cinema where the POV does not begin nor end with the gaze, but rather through physical actions and reactions in real time. It is a somatic and physical practice, process and experience.

Feral: a domesticated being cannot become wild again, but it can become feral. All of these terms revolve around my preoccupation with using the power of our imaginations to liberate ourselves from systems that cage or divide through borders and walls. To become feral, one must create space for flying without wings.

Lectures and Workshops

Borrowed Trauma is a movement research lecture and laboratory developed by myself and Tarren Johnson, that explores corporeal access to shared memory and human empathy through media, and challenges the thresholds of what our bodies can experience through simulation. To what extent can we use our bodies to connect with experiences we did not have ourselves, but learn about through images? In this laboratory we explore whether empathy is something that can be exercised through simulation in order to deconstruct and comprehend the complex relationships surrounding the reenactment of other’s suffering in sensationalized media images. When and how does the embodiment of another’s tragedy become colonizing and exploitative? By fixing the lens on the performance of the human body, what is there to be gained through the literacy of reading these images through the context of dance?
*part lecture, and part movement laboratory/workshop