Chichester town centre
In 2007 I travelled to the small British town of Chichester where I had enrolled in the University there as a full-time PhD student.
The University of Chichester is one of the smallest universities in the UK, but it has one of the most thriving dance departments covering undergraduate degrees right up to doctorates (here is a link to their website). The programme has a strong practical focus with an emphasis on performance and choreography. One of its drawcards is that it offers a Masters in Performance based around its MA Student Performance Company called Mapdance.
I chose to do my PhD in the UK as an international student because I wanted my research to be practice-based and, at the time, there were no supervisors in New Zealand with expertise to supervise this mode of doctoral investigation.
My intention was to complete my studies in 3 years. Instead, it took me 6 years. Part of the reason for the lengthier time period was that the research used a methodology based on emergent processes. While I knew what I was hoping to achieve – which was a new movement improvisation tool – I had no idea what this would look like and how I might best achieve it. I was at the mercy of the research revealing itself to me in its own time. All I could do was take one question after another, as they unfolded out of the work process, into the studio to test them out on dancers.
Eventually, the whole thing suddenly fell into place. There was a distinct ‘voila!’ moment. From the chaos a system was birthed that was quite distinct and cohesive. I named it the bodymAPP – which stands for a movement app for the body.
The bodymAPP grew out of a close investigation of pedestrian movement conducted in Chichester’s town centre and shopping mall. The system has 11 kinetic components. These are arranged in, on and around the human body where they act as an embodied and readily accessible movement palette.
This section of my website contains more information on the bodymAPP’s content, structure and application. A downloadable pdf of my thesis is also available here.
Overtime, I will gradually be adding more content to these research pages. Specifically, I will be providing information about my ongoing experiences – reflections, challenges, methods, insights, etc. – of teaching the bodymAPP to dancers and actors. I also intend to include supporting video material.
I am open to dialogue on this research with anyone interested in it. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org