Movement Research Series 2019-20

MFA in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis
Graduate Movement Research Guest Series 2019-20
Curated by Michael Kliën, Director, MFA in Dance

On a Darkness that Can Not be Dispelled: Moving into the Anthropocene

“We are all in the bowels of this giant machine, the modern global economy, being used as instruments to serve its ends. We have created this machine collectively, but we feel trapped individually. We´ve shifted the burden so much to the machine that we don`t see a lot of options even though they may be really there. We can’t go into the woods and live happily off the land anymore. So we “deep freeze” our ability to sense what is actually going on. We deny the larger consequences of what we are doing.” Peter Senge

With Darkness we propose a multiplicity of interpretation, anchored in the deep unconscious undercurrents of culture that organize our movements into involuntary and voluntary waves. It also speaks to the grief and sadness that comes with sensing the inevitable destruction of our living environment and the seething pathologies colonizing our thoughtbodies. It speaks to the depth of our subtle body, where flesh and thought is not easily distinguishable, the darkness and joy that is accessed in the search for futures, modalities for moving through these times. The sadness of the realization that our communal effect is real - the Anthropocene is real – and the body’s challenge to either shift into this new dark state to face it or stay delusional and neutral, propagating the inevitability of our fundamental ideas’ catastrophic failures.

"Dance is a primary medium throughout history which people have engaged in order to know the natural world — and participate in its ongoing creation." Kimerer LaMothe

Our first guest artists’ series features prominent dance practitioners, who are asking fundamental questions through embodied research. Dancing as the potential for unknowing, bewildering and questioning established realities through examining how and what moves us. Whereas some of the artists have built tentative, unfamiliar ways of moving, others are concerned with the de- and re-construction of existing modalities. All artists are bound by the desire to change dominant assumptions surrounding the dancing body’s past, present and future. Often in response to a deeply felt urgency they seek to establish and perform different ways of moving/sensing/being in the world. This series is pointing towards the deep mysteries and poetry that lie in the darkness of the flesh. At times, it speaks to the spiritual, social and political repercussion as well as the practical consequences that emerge when entering the void in movement. Could dance offer such a dark strategy, a submerged, yet teeming sense of thought and perception, to address issues of the Anthropocene?


Movement Research (course:  DANCE 710L)

  • Graduate students will engage the posed questions as part of their weekly, communal dance sessions (following the format of ‘Excavation Sites’), in which governing rules and concerns grow and adapt according to the groups’ shifting attention. Outcomes will be shared at various occasions.  

Workshops (including public talks and/or presentations)

The series is accompanied by research presentations from guests-scholars, artists and faculty:

  • October 18, Eric Mullis
  • November  8, Kimerer LaMothe
  • December tba, Thomas F. DeFrantz

Further dates to be announced.