Tag Archives: Alison Jones

The Aging Body In Dance: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Kazuo Ohno's hand by Takayuki Nakatake

Kazuo Ohno’s hand by Takayuki Nakatake

Some years ago I was selected to give a paper at a conference in Berlin, organised by Nanako Nakajima and Gabriele Brandstetter on ‘The Aging Body in Dance’. This emerged from my research as a Fellow of the International Research Centre ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’, at Freie University, Berlin.

My paper discussed the aging, changing body, and how acquired sensory impairments can bring more to our creativity and practice than they take away. I wrote primarily about Silent Rhythm, a Liverpool International Live Art Festival commission at Bluecoats I received with my collaborators dancer/choreographer Denise Armstrong and visual artist Alison Jones. The description of the project is as follows:

15-19 November 2004. Liverpool Biennial Live Art Festival at the Bluecoats Art Centre
Brief description of  ‘SILENT RHYTHM’.

This ‘work in progress’ is a fusion of live art and experimental performance practice from a Deaf and Disability perspective. ‘Silent Rhythm’ is a multi-sensory exploration of space, smell, text, and choreography. This collaboration between writer Kaite O’Reilly, dancer Denise Armstrong, and Visual artist Alison Jones is informed by their sensory impairments, using them as a source of inspiration for creativity. Utilizing written and spatial languages- ‘what words look like in the air’- combined with Deaf choreography, harnessing the ‘inner tempo; the silent rhythm’ within an installation. The live art performance transforms, and possibly erases, aspects of the original installation.

The essay also touches on the work of visually-impaired poet Alex Lemon and dramatist Alex Bulmer.

The collection of essays is edited by Nanako Nakajima and Professor Gabriele Brandstetter, and will be published by Routledge on January 26th 2017.  Details follow:

What does it mean to be able to move?

The Aging Body in Dance brings together leading scholars and artists from a range of backgrounds to investigate cultural ideas of movement and beauty, expressiveness and agility.

Contributors focus on Euro-American and Japanese attitudes towards aging and performance, including studies of choreographers, dancers and directors from Yvonne Rainer, Martha Graham, Anna Halprin and Roemeo Castellucci to Kazuo Ohno and Kikuo Tomoeda. They draw a fascinating comparison between youth-oriented Western cultures and dance cultures like Japan’s, where aging performers are celebrated as part of the country’s living heritage.

The first cross-cultural study of its kind, The Aging Body in Dance offers a vital resource for scholars and practitioners interested in global dance cultures and their differing responses to the world’s aging population.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Gabriele Brandstetter and Nanako Nakajima

Overview of the Aging Body in Dance, Nanako Nakajima

Section I: The Aging Body in the late 20th century: American Postmodern Dance, German Dance, and Japanese Dance

Yvonne Rainer, The Aching Body in Dance

Ramsay Burt, Yvonne Rainer’s Convalescent Dance: On valuing ordinary, everyday, and unidealised bodily states in the context of the aging body in dance

Johannes Odenthal, Der Tanz ist eine Metapher des Lebens (Dance is a Metaphor of Life)

Tamotsu Watanabe, Flowers Blooming in the Time of Aging

Section II: Alternative Dancability: Dis/Ability and Euro-American Performance

Ann Cooper Albright, The Perverse Satisfaction of Gravity

Jess Curtis, Dancing the Non/Fictional Body

Kaite O’Reilly, SILENT RHYTHM: A Reflection on the aging, changing body, and sensory impairment as a source of creativity and inspiration

Susanne Foellmer, Bodies’ Borderlands: Right in the Middle. Dis/Abilities on Stage

Section III: Aging and Body Politics in Contemporary Dance

Petra Kuppers, Somatic Politics: Community Dance and Aging Dance

Kikuko Toyama, Old, weak, and invalid: dance in inaction

Janice Ross, Dance and Aging: Anna Halprin Dancing Eros at the End of Life

Section IV: Perspectives of Interweaving

Mark Franko, Why are Hands the Last Resort of the Aging Body in Dance? Notes on the Modernist Gesture and the Sublime

Nanako Nakajima, Yoshito Ohno’s Figures of Life

 

Congratulations to all contributors and to the editors. It is a privilege to be amongst such company.

Fragile? Symposium: Dance, Arts, and Visual Impairment.

Fragile? Sympoisum. http://www.fragiledance.com/

Fragile? Sympoisum. http://www.fragiledance.com/

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I’ve been invited to give a presentation about some of my work at Tallinn University in Estonia next month, as part of the Fragile? Symposium: Dance, Arts, and Visual Impairment. I’m going to speak about ‘Silent Rhythm’, a project I co-created with Denise Armstrong and Alison Jones for the Liverpool International Live Art Festival years ago, where we used our sensory impairments as the starting point for collaboration and the source of creativity. Details of the event, plus the international contributors follow:

Symposium / Dance, Arts & Visual Impairment

TALLINN UNIVERSITY, ESTONIA 20 – 21 April 2013

http://www.fragiledance.com/

The FRAGILE? Symposium is a European wide gathering of practitioners, participants and academics engaged in the fields of dance / art and visual impairment.

The FRAGILE partners (BÆRUM KULTURHUS (Norway), VO’ARTE (Portugal), TALLINN UNIVERSITY (Estonia) and SALAMANDA TANDEM (England)) have united together to host this stimulating FRAGILE? Symposium in the beautiful city of Tallinn.

The Symposium runs from 19th April to 21st April and will consist of over 18 separate participatory experiences, inclusive presentations, exhibits and performances. Events will be presented by an exciting array of visually impaired and sighted experts from all over Europe debating, showing and performing their work in response to the symposium themes.

Isabel Jones, Artistic Director of Salamanda Tandem, is the symposium curator, and in shaping the themes has devised a programme, around interests and questions arising from the FRAGILE project, from her 30-year of practice in this field and beyond:


•    Art: an inclusive aesthetic
. How inclusive is dance as an art form for visually impaired people? What are we doing to make it more so? What affects are there on the ‘Art’ of an inclusive aesthetic?

•    Training and Work: routes and barriers
What shifts are needed both attitudinal and physical, for visually impaired people to enter the performing arts as professionals? Where, for whom and how has it been done well?

•    Wellbeing: Value and Appreciation. 
Is dance / art valuable to visually impaired people and if so, how? How far does this value extend, and does it extend to audiences?

The symposium is suitable for visually impaired people, teachers, artists, scientists, therapists, performers and researchers working or interested in the specific field of dance, arts and visually impairment.

Throughout the FRAGILE? Symposium, we aim to encourage debate, participation, provocation and appreciation, of the contributions of visually impaired people and their collaborative partners to the fields of dance / performance / wellbeing / and art.

The FRAGILE? Symposium’s list of contributors includes:

Lee Sass – UK

Mick Wallis – UK

Kjersti K. Engebrigtsen – Norway (KED)

Ana Rita Barata – Portugal (Vo’Arte)

Sarah Kettley – UK (Trent University)

Ajjar Ausma – Estonia

Isabel Jones – UK (Salamanda Tandem)

Delphine Demont – France (Acajou)

Said Gharbi & Ana Stegnar – Belgium

Jose Luis Pages – Spain

Dijana Raudoniene – Lithuania

Mickel Smithen – UK

Gregor Strutz – Germany

Per Solvang – Norway (Oslo University)

Maria Oshodi – UK (Extant)

David Feeney – Scotland

Rachel Gadsden – UK

Kaite O’Reilly – UK

Read more about the FRAGILE? Symposium and register on www.tlu.ee/fragile