Sunday, 23 February 2014

What have you noticed?

So, I've been talking a lot with my BA dance students this week about taking time to look around them and to note in some way, what they notice.  This came up through choreography workshops and my concern that most of my students were desperately searching for inspiration, ideas to choreography 'about' outside of them/their own interests.  The idea of actually noticing what they notice, what's around them, what they feel about it seemed quite novel to them as a starting point, to begin to explore through movement.

It made me think of the way we can distance ourselves not only from our surroundings but from our 'selves' too; missing out on the opportunities that may be right there within/around us through not being open/able to see them.  Why do we see 'things' -  research, choreography, as separate from us, when it is us, our experience of the world around us and our place within it that offers us a route to our understanding of these 'things'.

An embodied approach to learning suggests that we learn through our experiences, that experience is knowledge, so how can we expect to understand things if we hold back from experiencing them, by seeing ourselves as a separate entity?

With appreciation for different learning styles and routes in needed for each of us, it is important within the MAPP DTP to find your way through to an embodied experience, to begin to understand your prior learning from the experiences your different roles have offered you (Module Ones), to begin to recognise and value what interests you, how you feel about it in relation to how you situate yourself within the world around you, your social, cultural, political, philosophical views, and how what interests you may already be spoken about by others from similar/different stances (Module Twos), and Module Three's to really immerse your 'self' in your research project, following your curiosity, noticing what you find and how you feel about it, how your experience of your research offers you understanding and knowledge.

See what you notice, see what you think...

Look forward to catching up with everyone in our group skype chat
next SUNDAY MARCH 2, 11am.



  1. Hi Helen, A really interesting blog, becoming familiar with the theory of Ontology is something within it self that I have noticed in this process and how fascinated with the art of research I have become.

    I did not think I would ever be so enthused over research or the “theory” side of dance. And how beneficial this MA will be to me upon completion, and how many practical professional skills and knowledge will be transferable to future prospects in my career.

    I think the embodied approach can leave you quite bare and vulnerable as I feel to really see yourself as a whole entity in learning you have to draw from a whole range of experiences from your life to fuel the process and it can be rather emotive as the theories you are creating in your philosophy, on your chosen subject are very close to your heart and you feel great passion for them as its the way you see the world.

    Then having to word it correctly and to conform to the higher educational environment to present your work meaningfully and with depth is a matter within itself I am noticing as well! HOWEVER blogging I feel really helps me with this and it really is a support system – Another thing I have noticed.


  2. Thanks Jamie...great observations. You're right, finding the balance between the personal, emotive connections of you/your research and an imposed formal academic environment is hard. It's all about balance and integration - my 3 circles are coming back to mind! Finding the balance for (and between) you/the university is very much part of the journey through this programme, one that you can navigate with our support and be in a stronger place professionally by doing so. To add to your reading list - Christopher Bannerman, 'Navigating the Unknown', a really interesting read about case studies of creative artists work within and beyond academia. See what you think...

  3. How funny I ordered it last week! My Mum is bringing it to New York for me when she comes to visit next week! Thanks Helen!

  4. Hi Helen,

    I was reading what your wrote and had to read it a few times to make sure I understood what it really meant to "notice". I sort of experimented with this idea of noticing your surroundings with my GCSE students who have their exams coming up soon. Looking at the grading criteria to get the full 5 marks students have to inspired, creative and original development of material. Now some students are loosing marks just simply because their choreographies lack inspiration, creativity and originality. So i have sort of stolen your ideas to strip them back to basics. Their task this week was to notice what is around them, to think about how acute their senses were. They had to think about what inspired them to think about things and record these thought in a log book. ( I did show them the clip from them movie Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 when the character Bella has just turned into a vampire and she is experiencing all of her new senses, how things are clearer because she had the ability to focus and notice) This was probably way of topic but I too wanted my students to just take the time to notice, sometimes routines are parallel lines and the mind may just follow these lines. Sometimes we need the squiggles.
    Like you said everyone works differently and therefor needs to find through their various experiences their influences. This will biuld their foundation for their knowledge. I will let you know how they get on.

    Think I went way off?


  5. Not way off at all, I think offering the example of the Twilight clip is a great way of expressing this to this age group! Be interested to hear how they get on...Always room for the squiggles : )
    Speak tomorrow on Skype, Helen