This research centres around the analysis of emergent knowledge taken from a Practice Lead Research framework, undertaken in a studio setting at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, 2019. The practice being based on a Hebrew word from the Old Testament Bible, בבס , which means ‘to encircle, turn about’ (Gruber, M. 1981, Kozlova, E. 2017) in a sacred dance, with particular interest in the exegetical meaning of the verb בבס , being a stimulus for the transference of ritual experience within mediatory or intercessory movement. The two verses within the text central to the project are Psalm 26:6 in the book Psalms, and the book of the major prophet Jeremiah, Chapter 31:22. Within these two verses בבס is attested as denoting circular bodily intervention in dance movement between ‘God’, self and ‘Other’ in spiritual process.
The process integrated somatic movement in the form of ‘Authentic Movement’ (Whitehouse. Adler, J. 1999), to create the basis of an embodied spiritual choreographic enquiry. This was in conjunction with phenomenological approaches to understanding the embodied self and ‘other’, (Merleau-Ponty, M. 1968, Levinas, 1972) and theological approaches to dance in the Old Testament Bible (Gruber, M. 1981, Kozlova, E. 2017).
The project asked the question, to what extent can ritual dance movement taken from the exegesis of ancient text, create an inter-subjective experience, which could be considered inter-mediatory or intercessory – between body, deity and other in a dance setting? And what does this look like as a choreographic performance? Drawing on scholarship around empathy as shared bodily experience within a spiritual yet choreographic process. (Stein, W. 1912, Foster, S. 2011, Gallese, V. 2008).
This approach aimed to unify a subjective practice-based research process for
choreographic devising within the study of dance, spirituality and theology. This work culminated in the exploration of the interdisciplinary potential of somatic research as a tool of accessing theological sound religious experience within a performative modality. The performance of בבס being expressed as a semi-durational dance installation.
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Harper-Robins, Samantha. (2019). סבב – A Choreographic Exploration of Ritual Dance Text in the Old Testament Bible (Masters’ theses). Retrieved https://researchonline.trinitylaban.ac.uk/oa/thesis/?p=1338
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