AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

(Re) Conceptualising Dance: Moving towards embodying environment from Japan to Aotearoa

by Miriam Claire McEwan Marler

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: Dance Studies; Somatic Practice; Body Weather; Aotearoa; New Zealand; Japan; Movement; Butoh; Min Tanaka; Dance Ethnography; Dance Ecology
Record ID: 1301455
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5100


This study is about the relationship between body, landscape, and dance through the researcher’s experiences of learning a Japanese movement approach known as Body Weather (BW) in rural Japan in 2007, and her current dance practice in Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ). To explore this topic, diverse viewpoints concerned with rethinking our notions of dance technique and training are reviewed (Bales & Nettl-Fiol, 2008; Browning, 2010). The cultural and somatic understandings of the Japanese dance practice and philosophy butoh (Crump, 2006; Fraleigh, 2010; Hamera, 1990; Stein, 2001), and its offspring Body Weather (Grant & de Quincey, 2006; Orr & Sweeney, 2011; Snow, 2006; Taylor, 2010) provide a lens expanding the notion of dance. Body Weather relevance within the Aotearoa context is also highlighted. How Māori notions of ecology (Marsden, 2003; Mead, 2003; Royal, 2007, 2009) might inform or share conversation with Body Weather practice in Aotearoa is analysed. Approaches of dance ethnography and practice-based research are blended to unearth somatic and cultural knowledge from Body Weather experiences in Japan and Aotearoa in response to the research question: What cultural and philosophical perspectives were gained through dance experiences on Min Tanaka’s Body Weather farm? And the guiding sub questions: a) what conceptualisation did I, the researcher, bring to the experience? b) How does knowledge from the experience in Japan inform current practice in Ōtepoti/Dunedin? The thesis argues that Body Weather is a somatic, ecological movement practice that is rooted in Japanese notions of body and spirituality, and offers insight into the ways in which it can successfully transplant in Aotearoa. The study aims to stimulate a critical somatic perspective that expands our definitions of dance.