Monthly Archives: September 2009

knowing through dancing: learning the discourse of motion

Upon finishing my second class of Contemporary Indian Dance, taught by Ananya Chatterjea, I can’t help but think about the ways in which the body, or even a single limb, can be mobilized to act be it through surrender or resistance.  It is Ananya’s voice that summons my muscle groups to speak in ways I’m still trying to understand.

odissi dancer

photo credit (for more info on Orissi dance tradition: Images & Music)

On my first day of class she beckoned that we “articulate our feet” a phrase that continues to haunt me.  Never before had I thought of my feet as having anything to say, or any allure for attention.  Yet, it was her persistence that we flex our feet and move them in these stylized motions that taught me, through aches and pains that our limbs, even the lowliest of the feet, can be speaking agents that rewrite the rules of participation and interaction.

I can tell already that this dance class will teach me through participation new ways to take up my body as an instrument to write and resist.

(added 10/15/09) Five weeks into the course, I continue to hear Dr. Chatterjea use metaphors of writing to describe the movement of the body.  For example, yesterday when explaining the various eye movements (yes, the eyes do dance and with intention), Ananya described how “the eyes follow the hands to create a narrative.”  I am very drawn to the idea of different body regions moving in coordination with others and those movement co-constructing a narrative.  I find these allusions to the body as technology for writing narratives to be quite generative in my thinking about bodies online as vehicles for participation.

See also Body In Motion Blog

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