Strategies of Interruption: Slowing Down and Becoming Sensate in Site Responsive Dance

Natalie Garrett Brown

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Positioned as site responsive work, this chapter considers the enter & inhabit collaborative site project as an example of contemporary dance practice rooted in embodied encounter with the environment. Exploring how embodied population of rural sites can be seen to invoke new encounters with familiar space and place for both mover and audience, this chapter charts the linage and working processes of enter & inhabit situating the work in the wider context of outdoor movement artists Anna Halprin (USA) and Helen Poynor (UK). Underlying the discussion is an interrogation of the relationship between presence, embodiment and inter-subjectivity as a means to illuminate the significance of site responsive dance to soci-cultural understandings of being and knowing in a poststructuralist context. In doing so, an affinity is proposed between Deleuzian inflected corporeal feminism principally through the work of Rosi Braidotti and Elizabeth Grosz and dance practice which foregrounds a sensorial relationship with site. Thus a philosophical lens is drawn upon to theorize the particular relationship between body and site cultivated in the work of enter and inhabit whereby a somatic mode of attention and a balance between activity and receptivity leads the artistic inquiry. In doing so the political significance of embodied encounter with the environment is argued for and the acceptance of corporeal knowledge as a valuable and necessary epistemological position asserted. Begun in 2007, enter & inhabit explores process-driven dance making in rural and city landscapes. The practice includes durational movement-improvisation, photography and writing to create scored live (and virtual) installations. Underpinned by an interest in the different modes of perception invoked for audience by somatic informed movement practices, specifically Body-Mind Centering® the creative practice of the enter & inhabit project is offered as one example of site responsive dance which foregrounds presence and acknowledges site to be characterized by flow and transition. In seeking to reveal the sensorial exploration intrinsic to the collaborative process of enter and inhabit, the chapter draws upon photographic image, writing and poetic improvisational scores from the project to detail the ways in which sensory receptivity to site is cultivated. Thus the chapter details how an emphasis on the sensory perceptual cycle as understood by Body-Mind Centering® and improvisational practices more widely enable an attentive dialogue between the materiality of site and an attuned body mind, from which alternate and new perspectives can emerge. The process of art making as unfolding across time and place through collective activity is thus entertained. From this viewpoint the chapter closes by proposing an act of co-creation by accidental and invited audiences, invited by the work to privilege their corporeal being in the moments of witnessing, facilitates a dialogue between individual and collective consciousness to create a third space of knowin
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMoving Sites: Investigating Site-Specific Dance Performance
EditorsVictoria Hunter
Place of PublicationUK & US
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-0415713252
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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