International Conference | 29 June - 03 July 2005
O’Connor: Brendon | UK
Threshold : Fleshfold
Vida Midgelow, PhD
Field Chair and Course Leader for BA (hons) Dance & BA (hons) Performance
Director of foreign bodies dance co. and The Choreographic Lab
Freelance Spatial Designer / Artist
Robert Wilsmore, DMus
Assistant Head of Higher Education at The Leeds College of Music
Threshold : Fleshfold – is the result of a collaboration between Brendon O’Connor, a spatial designer, and Vida Midgelow, a dance maker, with especially commissioned music by Robert Wilsmore. Working in parallel Vida and Brendon created two intersecting works born out of shared research and discussions and realised in two media. Their attentions focused on the interrelationships between spaces, and between bodies and spaces
The installation is made of fine wood panels and transparent surfaces in repeated modular forms. It uses the concept of the architectural corner as both a termination and starting point of space to create multiple boundaries that exist as both real and virtual. This installation is the context for an improvised solo dance performance that evokes the intensive interconnectivity of bodyspaces in intimate and subtle ways. Folding, touching and curving this improvised dance is both sinuous and serene. Foregrounding connectivities and flow in what might be considered a Deleuzian manner, Threshold : Fleshfold seeks to interlace different orders of space and surface, and to blur boundaries between the inside and the outside, and between bodies and architectures..
The dance improvisation Threshold : Fleshfold is structured around scored images: ‘A pose that is not fixed’; ‘Travelling through routes in the body’; ‘Everything folding at once’; ‘Alignment is everywhere’ and ‘Resting and Relocating’. Shifting between the external architecture of the space and the internal architecture of the body the dance seeks to disrupt traditional ideas about visualization and singular visual perspective by presenting dance as a polycentric, spatial experience. Unfolding and unravelling Threshold : Fleshfold emphasises the transient and the sensuous over the fixed and the visual. These features are heightened due to the improvisatory nature of the work. For as the body forms shifting textures and landscapes this dance seeks to bring the audiences attention to the detail of each movement and of each specific moment in time for, in an improvisation such as this, the movement develops in the moment of enactment.
As I perform this improvised work I track back and forth between the known and the unknown - where the ‘known’ incorporates the structural guidelines that delimit the improvising body’s choices and the individual body’s predisposition or training and the ‘unknown’ represents a letting go. This letting go is thought filled however – each action, each folding undulation, enters the discourse of the genre, for the type of embodied knowledge I experience when improvising goes beyond any traditional formation of a dancers bodily knowledge - the deep mastery of the body attained through years of practice and experience. Rather I am referring to an ontology of the body in which theory is embedded in the practices of the body in a conscious, embodied and critical manner. This embodied standpoint acknowledges the materiality of conceptual knowledge and this for me as a dancer / dance maker is fundamental.
Threshold : Fleshfold was funded by Arts Council England and UCN. The work was premiered April 2004 and has been presented at The Beetroot Tree Gallery (Derbyshire), The Black hole Studio (Manchester Metropolitan University), The Gallery (UCN) and at various Regional Practice as Research in Performance Events (PARIP).