Having encountered and invested in an idea that is heavily present within somatic practices that training and technique need to be “unlearnt” in order to access a more authentic dancing self, I now find myself struggling to maintain this belief and instead am driven by the understanding that nothing that enters the body ever leaves again, nothing that enters a cultural lexicon is ever is forgotten – for good and bad. The question from here becomes, what to do with what we’ve got? Furthermore, I struggle to subscribe to the somatic idea of the “authentic” body, which as I see it is based upon an outdated divide between nature (“authentic”) and culture (“inauthentic”), which is no longer appropriate in the 21st century, where culture and nature are seen to be intertwined and that perceived borders between them are merely artificial. In this way I can see my ballet training as no more or less authentic as my somatic dance knowledge, which is equally a cultural product responding to certain conditions of the time in which it was developed. With this understanding the hierarchy or favouritism I may have had between the techniques and training in my body disappears, and suddenly all is available to my choreography, ballet and somatics. In dropping beliefs of “unlearning” and “authentic” it seems inevitable and necessary that I dive into the cultural landscape that exists in my body and see what can be done with it.

For the past two years I have investigated dance and choreography, more particularly, my own dance and choreography, as a node in an ecology of global forces – economic, political, military, social. I have been driven by the seemingly facetious yet entirely serious question, What’s Dance Got To Do With It? Treading new ground beneath the same question, I am interested in how when I dance ballet, or generally employ its technique and choreographic tendencies, I am practising a certain conception of the world.

Now I want to look at how the unorthodox entanglement of dance techniques, experiences and philosophies that I maintain can be deployed into a choreographic language that speaks to the relationship between the conservative centre, ballet, and the radical margin, somatics and improvisation, that are simultaneously active in my body.