Seeing another person doing a movement can activate the brain to initiate movement: the mirror system is a neurological process which involves the preparation our brain makes to take an action. By seeing another person doing a movement our brains prepare to take this action ourselves.

Dynamic movement cues obtained from observing and imitating actions may be more effective than other forms of cueing, and recent studies have indicated some benefits of imitation practice within rehabilitation programmes for stroke and Parkinson’s (2017) [20/05/2017]


Reflecting on the work in process film ‘Collective Field 2017’…

Working with film in this process has highlighted the value of fragmentation of the body for enabling alternative ways of seeing, and ways of initiating movement. The gaze of the camera, directed by Sara Hibbert, drew me to different body parts and how the movement stems from the core of the body; as opposed to seeing the traces of movement in the space made by the limbs of the dancers.

Initiating movement in an intimate space individually was difficult for dancers in this process, perhaps due to:

  • the challenge of imagining ways to move
  • over reliance on a sense of aesthetics in movement from an external perspective (shapes in space)
  • their previous experience of dance being delivered using external cuing such as use of mirroring or music cues meaning dancers are reliant on being guided to move

However the fragmenting of the body in ‘Collective Field 2017’ shows rich movement exploration starting from the core of the body.

This perspective of the body through the camera lens, has directed me to consider internally guided movement methods in order to encourage bodily understanding and awareness for dancers with Parkinson’s. Dance involves considering the movement of the body in space, in relation to itself, externally and internally, however perhaps over reliance on external cues could hinder dancers creative understanding of their body’s potential to move…

‘Collective Field’ (2017) is the artistic response to the Collectivity & Intimacy dance practice as research project; a 15 minute split screen film installation directed by artist Sara Hibbert. Collective Field was recently shown in Altai; Experiments in Collective Practice, a series of happenings exploring shared space and knowledge exchange. The work acts as a chapter in our continuing research, and has enabled us to explore specific ideas such as what it means to move collectively, moving in silence, and viewing the body from new perspectives through the filmmaking process.




The Collective Field (work in progress) will be exhibited this week as part of Altai in Residence; Experiments in Collective Practice at the Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art, Battersea.

Open 14th – 18th Feb
10am – 5pm (12-5pm Sat).

The work-in-progress has been made in collaboration with dancers from Musical Moving, dance for people with Parkinson’s  (Wimbledon), and Dancing with Parkinson’s, St. Josephs Hospice (Hackney), with special thanks to dancers:

Susan Prag
Jill Pal
Nancy Williams
Noelle Dyer
Olive Hodgins
Fred Hodgins

More information about Altai in Residence and other artists involved in the programme can be found here.

Today we explored the collective and intimate spaces created both in the body and the external environment, through the guidance of music or the openness of silence.

We experimented with the exposure that we feel when dancing with no music to support us and drive our intention.

It is a common experience in dance sessions with people with Parkinson’s that music choices are made in a supportive and intentional way in order to enable the dancer to achieve maximum potential in movement – amplitude, strength, stability and fluidity of the body. These things are fueled by a drive to achieve benefits to bodily mechanics. From an aesthetic or externally driven place.

In this workshop we experienced the space to drive the movement from the internal environment and to consider movement choices from bodily suggestion rather than from the external impetus of music or accompaniment.

What we observed was a lived or phenomenological experience – somewhere between active expression and passive embodiment.

What the dancers experienced was something on the border between freedom and discomfort.

More soon…