the perch adaptation project – with Amaara Raheem and Preethi Athreya at Critical Path

the perch adaptation project – audio series

This rendering of the perch adaptation project has been generously commissioned by artists Amaara Raheem and Preethi Athreya, as part of their choreographic research residency at Critical Path in Sydney, Australia.

The audio series below is offered in ten parts. Each part begins with an embodied warm-up, informed by the somatic practice of experiential anatomy, followed by an excerpt from a solo score called perch.  The overall intention of this audio series is to offer gateways or portals into moving with the place where you currently find yourself.

about the embodied warm-ups
The embodied warm-up material draws inspiration from the field of somatic movement practice known as experiential anatomy. Experiential anatomy is an umbrella term used in different ways within a variety of somatic and bodywork practices. My understanding refers to learning about human anatomy by integrating anatomical information with the subjective, movement-based exploration of that information. In this sense then you become your own holistic laboratory to learn from. The work of somatic movement practitioners Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Linda Hartley, Andrea Olsen, Caryn McHose, Miranda Tufnell (among many others) directly inspire my approach. These warm-ups are designed to facilitate sensing, feeling and playing in relation to place and lay the ground for the perch score excerpts which follow-on.

about perch
perch is a solo dance about temporary states and locations and the movement in-between these things. It is about the process of building a home for the future – of homing – while feeling haunted by the past. First and foremost however perch is a practice, performed regularly by one person, for a place. The movement score shifts between states of groundedness and flight and hovers over the transitions which transform these states. With each practice the work bears witness to its immediate conditions and, in so doing, with each practice the work subtly adapts and evolves. In this way, the ‘form’ of the work offers a means of simultaneously practising holding on to and letting go of what is known about the work and the world that it moves through.

perch was initially developed in a room in a former cotton spinning mill in Manchester. The dance accumulated itself slowly over many years, in response to the many layers of life which permeated its making. Two dancers, Katye Coe and Bridget Fiske, expressed an interest in learning the score. I initially felt uneasy about passing on the work in this way, not least because of the prospect of imposing an existing movement structure onto another dancer (since one of my long-term creative passions is the enquiry into how a dance can develop out of the uniqueness of a person). However, a few weeks into lockdown, our perception of the potential of revisiting the work shifted. The structure of the score cultivated a quality of concentration and relief. The process of re-situating its content into Katye and Bridget’s homes turned into a creative process in and of itself, for the daily developments in our domestic lives – and their reflection of the wider political context – permeated the process of adaptation. The experience of living through a pandemic is now inseparable from our understanding of the work. In this way, we have come to understand adaptation as an embodied and poetic practice – as persistently pursuing the shape of something while simultaneously absorbing and responding to circumstance. The audio series which appears below is offered in this spirit – as an invitation to experiment with what the process of adaptation can become, according to what supports you to enliven and deepen your relationship with the place where you currently find yourself.

parts 1 – 10