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Title: Moving Beyond the Habitual: Somatic Pedagogy in Performance Training
Speaker(s): Dr. Gina Giotaki, dance artist - historian, Greece
Date & Time: 19/05/2016 09:00-12:00
Location: Municipal Theatre
Language: Greek

Short Description:
Breaking the boundaries of habitual movement patterns is often argued to form a fundamental goal in contemporary dance and interdisciplinary performance education. This workshop will offer an introduction to somatic pedagogy while contextualising it as an approach and a field of study that cultivates this attribute for performers. Using focusing techniques, hands-on practice and movement improvisation processes drawn from diverse somatic methods, such as Body-Mind Centering, Experiential Anatomy and Skinner Releasing Technique, it will guide participants in conscious explorations of anatomic structures as a means to create subjective, raw, non-stylized movement that surpasses established patterns. In doing so, it will consider two main themes: a. the possibility and value of breaking boundaries developed through cultural and aesthetic references in performance and in our ability to seek kinaesthetic experiences through movement, b. the potentiality of reaching altered states of consciousness, often referred to as “transcendent” experiences through conscious focusing on physiological structures and/or partnering techniques.

The two themes will be explored whilst drawing from basic principles in Thomas Csordas’ (1990, 1994) sketching of cultural phenomenology, Shaun Gallagher’s (2011) conceptualisation of embodiment and the conceptual framing of altered states of consciousness by Vaitl et al. 2005. The workshop will be both experiential and theoretical in nature and will aim to link observations made as part of the workshop with findings from a practice-led, anthropological – historical research (Giotaki 2015) in the role of somatics and embodied practices in interdisciplinary performance.

Key words: somatics, performance, embodiment, altered stated of consciousness

Short CV
Gina Giotaki is a dance artist and dance anthropologist-historian. She was awarded her PhD with a scholarship from Coventry University. Over the past ten years, she has taught across a range of subjects relating to contemporary dance at the University of Peloponnese, Liverpool John Moores University and Coventry University. She has extensive artistic and pedagogic experience as a dance practitioner and has worked in collaboration with numerous organisations in Greece and abroad. Her research interests focus on: a) aspects of embodiment and subjectivity in dance making and movement pedagogy for performance artists and diverse community groups, b) anthropological and historical methodologies for the research of dance as a structured movement system and c) applications of technology in choreography and in the study and documentation of dance as intangible cultural heritage.

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