with Rebecca Morgan, Jessica Pink and Masha Mikulinsky
In a spacious studio classroom on a university campus, forty people sit in a large circle. They are attending a dance/movement therapy conference, and the morning keynote speaker is introducing their 1 current research. The conference delegates listen attentively as the speaker explains that they are researching the embodied experience of oppression and offers a brief statement of the research question. Instead of moving on to a review of the literature and a description of their methods, however, the speaker pauses. They note that the nature of this research is antithetical to a dispassionate recitation of procedures and findings. Instead, the speaker explains that they are now going to share their research in a less conventional way. A moment later, a young woman stands up from her chair in the circle. After taking a breath, she says in a quiet but firm voice, ‘It never hits me until after I leave them how I forget to breathe.’ There is a scarf wrapped around her neck that she slowly twists and tightens as she speaks. She sits down. Over the next 30 minutes, six performers – each of them initially embedded invisibly in the ‘audience’ – stand, move through the space, and use movement and words to enact (rather than just describe) the study’s findings. Following the performance, the principal researcher guides a discussion among performers and participants on the impact of the performance and helps to facilitate connections between the material presented and the professional work of the dance/movement therapists in the audience.