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Perceiving the body: here and from here is a workshop to dismantle a privileged and exclusionary somatic language. We acknowledge how “contemporary,” “postmodern,” and “somatics” are not “neutral” techniques, dance forms and styles, but are highly racialized and exclusionary. Instead of transcending or diluting national, ethnic, racial, and gendered differences, this practice intends to make these differences palpable and tangible by attending to our corpo-sensorial experiences. By holding collective space, we reframe hegemonic narratives through which certain bodies are perceived. We unearth the vitality of our moving bodies in realizing equitable futures, resistive collectivities, and solidarities.
My work develops from my politics of being a contemporary dancer, an Indian national, and a non-resident alien living and working in the US. I explore how these different identities that I embody shape my dance practice and allow me to de-center the role of choreography in casting dance as a universal aesthetic. This is about the politics of visibility as much as a question of (my/our) accessibility and mobility that we re-search through our bodies.
What to expect: The practice I offer looks specifically at meeting points: Feet with the floor, hips with the legs, neck with the shoulders, and how can these points of connection stretch and elongate the body in alternate directions. We will work on alignment using the support of the floor and the wall. It is to ask: How do we learn to perceive the need for support, care, and attention through our bodies? In this workshop, our focus would be to enhance spinal articulation and mobility, and hip stability. We will slowly build our movement through class, following our breath. We will include a moment to share our experiences at mid-point in the workshop and also towards the end.
Sanchita is a performing artist and a dance scholar based out of Los Angeles. As a PhD student at UCLA, she analyzes the role of somatics and touch in Indian contemporary dance. Her artistic and scholarly work focuses on how material and cultural situations shape perception, corporeality, and choreographic practice. Her current work, Engage, explores the experience of submerging the body through open, closed, and virtual spaces. Engage premiered at Austin Dance Hub Virtual Showcase, and has been officially selected in New Wave Short Film Festival (Munich) and New York Tri-State International Film Festival. Other recent works include collaborations with choreographers Milka Djordjevich (Los Angeles), Ligia Lewis (Los Angeles), Mandeep Raikhy (New Delhi), and Preethi Athreya (Chennai). Sanchita has been a resident-performer at Gati Dance Forum (New Delhi), Maya Dance Theatre (Singapore), and Crashbox, Ruch Mechs (Austin).