Visuality, discipline and somatic practices: The ‘Maya Lila’ performance project of Joan Davis

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The incorporation of somatic practices into dance training and production has implications for a dancer’s experience of their own body but also affects the audience’s role in relating to the work. Joan Davis is an Irish choreographer who uses the practices of Authentic Movement and Body-Mind Centering in creating site-specific, participative performances that she calls ‘Maya Lila’. In this article, I investigate how Davis develops strategies from somatic practices to provoke the self-reflective capacity of dancers and audience members, rather than focusing on the external appearance of the performer’s body. The Maya Lila project has also had an impact on my work as a performer and researcher, and I conclude the article by drawing attention to the impact of somatic training on my experience of discipline, surveillance and subjective agency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-232
JournalJournal of Dance & Somatic Practices
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010



  • Joan Davis
  • visual
  • Irish choreographer
  • discipline
  • somatics
  • Authentic Movement

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