Thinking bodies in dance
THINKING BODIES IN DANCE. R.E.A.C.H. (RESEARCH IN ELECTRONIC AND ALGORITHMIC CHOREOGRAPHY)
Promotors: Annouk Van Moorsel (RCA) & Timmy De Laet (UA)
Image: (detail) by Lore Sannen
This project focuses on dance epistemology, as it deals with dance as the aesthetic expression of corporeal thinking. The goal of this artistic research is more specifically to investigate how somatic practices and technology can mutually enhance each other in order to develop techniques for dance improvisation. As such, it will specify how dancers make decisions in an improvisation and when the instant of composing takes place.
Somatic practices use improvisation to train sensitivity and reactivity of dancers. However, they often still miss the tools to grasp the fleeting nature of its knowledge production through visualization, improvisation, and verbal reflection. In dance education too there is a need for specific techniques to support corporeal thinking. This research will make embodied cognitive processes (which are often tacit and implicit) more concrete by revising “Nervous Systems,” a somatic practice for the human nervous system developed by Klaas Devos, with electronic tools.
By developing new software (MAXMSP), the research practice can experiment with the implicit knowledge production of dancers and gain control over principles of improvised composition. The software generates live movement tasks, mediated in-ear or on monitors, and as such it trains the decision-making in improvisation. By thus integrating electronic choreographies in somatic practices we can expand the consciousness of cognition in dancers and critically reconsider the common principles of somatic research, including self-inwardness, solitary technics, soft and slow dynamics, and synthesis through storytelling.
Klaas Devos is choreographer and researcher. His work explores the intimate poetry of knowing and thinking bodies and the aesthetics of mis/understandings. Devos’ practice consists of studies on the instant of dance interpretation. The artistic output interweaves dance improvisation and electronic choreography, experimental music, digital arts, somatic practices and cognitive sciences.
Devos graduated at the Higher Institute for Dance in Lier, now the Bachelor dance of the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp. He deepened his education in dance practice with a Master in Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Antwerp and graduated with a master’s thesis on modern dance epistemology. His fascination for dancing as a specific mode of thinking and researching is the recurring thread throughout his post-graduate researches at P.A.R.T.S. and at a.pass.
'The Thinking Body in Dance' is the subject of his doctoral research in the arts at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp and the University of Antwerp. This research on live electronics as a dance and choreographic tool connects technology and the human nervous system in dance in order to produce new improvisation techniques.