Project WITH

Research clip

“We need to revalue the body as a source of experience and difference, before we are able to move forward with identity politics” (Kuppers)

If we could assume we are apparatuses of each other, how can communication be established across physical and personal differences?

The title of the work plays with the double meaning of the word against: ‘in disagreement with’ and ‘in physical contact with.’ The inspiration for this work is to look at social dynamics of undervalued bodies and pair it with the physics of movement (dynamics).

Historically people of color, woman, gay people, people with disabilities and immigrants have had their bodies de-valued. This performance proposal is to continue developing a practice looking at the dynamics of power and agency associated with undervalued bodies through the use of physical tools. Between a (mythical) center-periphery schematic, of those in power against those marginalized to the edges, exists the in-between space where our identities and abilities intra-act and define each other. It is these types of intra-actions that define and label identities.

Discourse is not what is said; it is that which constrains and enables what can be said. This piece aims to create a physical discursive practice that produces new possibilities and challenges social constraints by looking at movement constraints. Through the use of the harnesses and ropes we see how the body’s anatomy and physiology and other material forces work together to organize power. By pairing the concept of power and agency to aerial rope dance, we acknowledge theories of social dynamics alongside gravity and physical dynamics. Undervalued bodies usually are not represented in aesthetic norms. We want to question how certain aesthetics could change if we give more space for undervalued bodies. We will challenge traditional aesthetics like symmetry, flow and ease. Our bodies will become entangled, weight sharing is sporadic and we break momentum to stop trajectories.

After a unique opportunity that brought together my research proposal with my partner’s aerial skills, we were able to begin this research and are seeking ways to 1. continue the work into a full 45-60 min performance Bodies Not Against Each Other, and 2. create an ongoing platform to share this practice with a larger audience as Project WITH.


During a residency in New York called OMI, funded by BKA, I proposed Project With to a group of 5 other dancers. Project With was spring boarded by colleagues working in the countries of Austria, France, Japan, Australia, Jordan, Canada and USA. Artistic, physical and intellectual input was gathered in an initial research phase. The group from this first phase was a collective of dancers who identified as gay, lesbian, immigrant, people of color and different ethnicities. For 3 weeks, the topic of agency and power was explored by examining the definition and placement of undervalued bodies in society alongside the physics of aerial and harness dance. We questioned how a centered-norm is interrelated to traditional aesthetics and affects undervalued bodies ability to move.