Physicality vs. Rationality

February 6, 2012

I was in the dance studio one day, feeling nostalgic for French, so I decided to articulate my thoughts in French, out loud, in the space. The second I got home, I pulled out my camera and started filming. The words aren’t quite as spontaneous as the original words in the studio, but they contain the general meeting of what I want to express. I noticed that a lot of my ideas translated to movement. I also filmed a short section with just my face, which I feel is the closest I can get to rationality, whereas the body obviously represents my physicality, and perhaps my rejection of it.

There are a few things that I take away from this process. First of all, I would like to continue exploring the use of language in choreography. The spoken word could be an additional way to avoid music, but create rhythm at the same time. Secondly, I think that this video really starts to formulate my idea for the piece on the purely conceptual level…

…I began this process hoping to deal with instinct and the fact that humans cannot ignore their physicality because they will never be able to rid themselves of their bodies. No matter how highly sophisticated civilization gets, we all still respond to those carnal needs, such as using the bathroom. I don’t think that any sort of technology will ever replace our physical being, although life becomes more and more comfortable. Still, you’re always going to have to pee, to put things crudely. I think that this video has made my thoughts turn more towards the negative aspects of physicality. I especially think of the fact that my dancing is affected by my neck, which also makes studying for long hours and other activities that I have to do every day rather painful. Also, the day that I recorded the French words was a day that I felt particularly unattracted to food. I felt like it was ridiculous that humans have to constantly feed themselves regularly to survive. You can’t go a day without eating. And if you can and continue to do so, you slowly start to die. So in a way, you are a slave to your body. Being a very intellectual and academically oriented person, it is frustrating that such mundane physical needs limit my mind’s ability to wander. I always have to come back to the simple things in life. Which is why in this video, I express my frustration with my body, and my rationality’s attempt to rid itself of this bloodsucking parasite, the body. I know it’s a paradox for dance, but I think I can play this up, by focusing my dance on my physical limitations, in particular of my neck: I can’t do this, I can’t do that. I can only act within the limits of my body.

I was talking to a friend about my ideas, and he suggested I read some Max Weber, who apparently has some similar theories. I am going to further investigate once I find enough time to sit down and read.


2 Responses to “Physicality vs. Rationality”

  1.   Dawn said:

    Anna. This is outstanding work. Your above comments about creating from that place of spontaneity are a really good example of “quickness” that we talked about briefly in class from Italo Calvino (Six Memos for the Next Millennium). You embody the paradox, the proverbial sense of rational vs physical, the body/mind split and makes me think about perhaps the feminist rejection of that. A true cultivation/gathering of ideas. I would suggest looking into writings by Susan Bordo (Unbearable Weight). Way to go. All the way.

  2.   Erica P said:

    Oh. My. God.
    This made me cry.
    Powerful ideas.

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