Difference and Encounter: Propositions for a Somatic-Based Dance Improvisational Practice

In group improvisation, ‘one encounters the other, and has a responsibility to this encounter’ (Fischlin, 2015: 289), but can we consider ‘one’ not as unity (Barad, 2014), and self-other difference not as ‘division’ (Minh-ha, 1989), but as ‘the expression of an elementary entanglement’ (Ferreira, 2016)?

This research engages a practice-as-research methodology to elaborate a somatic practice of dance improvisation, based on the notions of difference and encounter. The research enquiry is focused not on the ‘other’ differences but on finding different ways of encountering others (practitioners) when improvising, for moving together entangled.

By connecting somatic dance improvisation with feminist posthumanism and new materialism, the research aims to devise an original practice concerned with finding different ways of encountering others (practitioners) when improvising, for moving together in responsible ways. Following the critique of dualism and discourses on ‘difference’ generated by feminist posthumanism and new materialism (Bozalek & Zembylas, 2016), this study considers Karen Barad’s ideas addressing difference as a form of entanglement. The notion of entanglement does not refer to the intertwining of one entity with one another, as in the joining of separate entities, but to the lack of an independent, self-contained existence (2007). 

This research purpose is to unearth the ways in which the practitioners can experience a different articulation of movement by extending the ‘inward-looking practice’ of somatics (Fortin, 2017: 146), ‘beyond the body of the individual’ (Alexander & Kamper, 2007: 3), to the encounter between one’s self and another as an inseparable relationship.

Difference and Encounter: Propositions for a Somatic-Based Dance Improvisational Practice