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Press Article

Animated Magazine
Spring 2000

Lives in Dance:

The people, the beliefs, the voices, the stories shaping dance in the 21st century.

Body intelligence
Thinking the unthinkable

Jasmine Pasch, Freelance choreographer; teacher; lecturer; researcher was chosen as one of 150 contributors - dancers, dancemakers, practitioners, educators and managers - to talk about their work, their influences and their hopes for the future.

Influences :

Dr. Joanna Harris, a dance therapist based in the USA, who came to the UK to work with the emerging Association for Dance Movement Therapy in the 1980s. She taught me the extraordinariness of the ordinary and everyday, and the experience of what I have come to call body intelligence.

Valerie Sinason, a psychotherapist, who until recently, was based at the Tavistock Clinic. I attended her monthly open workshops in Learning Difficulty and Psychotherapy for ten years, and she taught me to bear the unbearable and to think the unthinkable. She revolutionised the way that I, and many others, think about people with learning difficulties. Heather Hill, based in Australia.

I met Heather when I travelled to Australia in 1995 on my Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship, and we have corresponded ever since by letter and e-mail. Heather's work and research on dance and movement with older people - particularly with dementia continues to inspire me. She introduced me to phenomenology, and the meaning of tiny moments of meaningful experience in human existence. She says:'Working with older people, and especially those with dementia, means in the first place bringing your own humanness and vulnerability to the dance and believing firmly in the humanness and uniqueness of other people. From this relationship with the individual may follow respect, liking, admiration and trust. The joy of this work is to see people take courage to emerge and be themselves.

Reading her thesis, and viewing hours of videotape of her work in Australia with one woman, called Elsie, led me to a deeper understanding of those fleeting magic moments in shared human experience.

Future factors :

For the industry to broaden its interests beyond the current obsession with youth culture; innovation; fashion and cliche ridden marketing jargon, and to demonstrate its commitment to equality, access and inclusion by its actions.

And for me that throughout the lifespan - the early years, childhood, youth, maturity and old age - that I might incorporate the benefits of an embodied self, taking advantage of knowledge and research from the fields of therapy; non-verbal communication; child development; psychology; fitness research ... and things I have yet to discover; and adding that to what I know from my dance and movement experience. I hope to never stop learning and dancing.

This article, first published in the Spring 2000 edition of Animated magazine, is reproduced by kind permission of The Foundation for Community Dance,
tel: 0116 251 0516
(click on address to send an email to The Foundation for Community Dance)

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