Accounting for dancing
My Leverhulme residency at Newcastle University continues to be a powerful means of practice sharing. This week has seen some of the outputs of my residency make their way to the Tramway Theatre, Glasgow to take part in People Dancing International Conference where we shared a performative lecture greatly enriched and supported by academic connections made as a direct consequence of my Leverhulme residency. These connections/discussions/experiments are giving my work an incredible injection of creative possibility ,connection and importantly new contexts for choreographic thought. Having spent most of my life playing with bodily engagements with space, scale, corporeality, mobilities and movement through spaces and places, I now find myself drawn to the movement and uses of data.
It has been an eye opening and at times eye watering experience delving into our collective responses to measurement particularly when it relates to cultural value and or the ambiguous realm of well-being.
I have been collaborating and work shopping ideas with GGDC exploring the often absurdist world of that "counting stuff" which our society seems to hold as a reliable unchanging truth...the world of data and statistics.
In response we have produced the first of a series of performative lectures which asks critical questions about our obsession with measuring , what it says about us and what we value. Via the expertise of our company statistician Dr Matt Jenkins we have been delighted to learn the art of shuffling numbers discovering that numbers and their meaning are always moving.....it depends on who is telling the tale and the particular lens through which they are looking.There are many lenses and many ways of looking but GGDC have been particularly concerned with how dance and dancing is being viewed through statistical/medical lenses. As older dance activists they are reclaiming and redefining research and the ways in which they are talked about and related to.
We want and need a platform to offer an alternative view ...we need to counter the counters!
On my count is a performative, participatory, heart felt lecture that questions the culture of number crunching and its relationship to "policy making".Whether it's hits, likes, pokes, number of "friends" , re-tweets or scales from 1 -10, who is measuring and why? Do we need numbers to know that something has value and just how reliable are those numbers?
On my count offers a different way of dealing with data...by dancing with it.
With sincere thanks to Dr Matt Jenkins and Professor Trish Winter, academics who don't jsut walk the talk...they dance it!