W122
Hesitation and uncertainty in bodily practice

Convenors:
Eleni Bizas (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies)
Jonathan Skinner (University of Roehampton)
Discussant:
Prof. Jane C. Desmond, Prof. Brenda Farnell, Ms Lauren Guyer
Format:
Workshops
Location:
S303
Start time:
12 July, 2012 at 11:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

This panel focuses on the nature of hesitation and uncertainty in bodily practice. We wish to interrogate these turning-point moments in the learning, the doing, and the observing of a form and explore what they do and what they communicate about the forms and their practitioners.

Long abstract:

Hesitation, moments of uncertainty, and accidental events are part of a dancer's experience in learning, doing and performing dance. In dance traditions, such in-between moments communicate, do, and symbolize differently and need to be approached appropriately by participants and researchers alike. A hesitation is perhaps a particular moment of being, a defining pause or lull to becoming. A hesitation might be accidental - suggesting a cognitive and/or corporeal uncertainty about movements. The accidental in an otherwise scripted performance may be ignored or appropriated, perhaps signaling the performers' confidence, creativity and artistic authorship. Hesitation can also be instrumental. It may be performed to introduce one's solo so as to communicate improvisation to the audience. Unscripted moments may also be part of a performance, to allow for individual or group expression. The ambiguity of hesitation in a performance might challenge the expectations of an artistic community. The audience as well as the performers - and apprentice anthropologist - may experience insecurity in the inbetweeness of the hesitation. However, whereas uncertainty in one's dancing can indicate the degree of familiarity with the 'rules of the game', insecurity signals a 'break' with one's habitus while highlighting the aesthetic values of, say, an unfamiliar dance. This panel focuses on the nature of hesitation and uncertainty in bodily practice. We wish to interrogate these turning-point moments in the learning, the doing, and the observing of dance and other forms. How too might a refined understanding of these moments and their conceptualisation assist with the more general anthropological enterprise?