Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Spiritual Corporeality: Towards a dance language mediating between spirit, matter and levels of reality

Very generally speaking, this study aims at questioning and re-defining the mind-body epistemic problem within contemporary dance and art culture.

Suzan Tunca

The central artistic concern of this investigation is the development of a dance language. On an epistemological level, the research aims to discover meaningful relations between the types of knowledge embodied in dance and the areas of knowledge where physics and psychology, metaphysics and revelation, intersect.

The dance language probes into experientially verifiable, non-verbal principles that appear to condition the logos of its expression – the expressive and dynamic interplay between psyche and physis. Imagination, intuition, and gnosis are here tested as potential creative mediators between ideas and matter. By pinpointing these state specific types of consciousness and related modes of knowing, distinct levels of subjectivity are articulated that lead to different perspectives on the perception of experiential reality. They stand for a very specific type of experiential knowledge. 

Methods will be aligned with the nature of the areas of investigation: the non-verbal physical (dance), the verbal discursive (literature), and emerging relations between them (dance language). A framework for observation will be developed that allows space for the expression and reception of physical and mental ideas that are not solely interpretable and verifiable from a rational point of view.

Envisaged outcomes are speaking physical and verbal approximations towards an intuited experiential field in between, underneath or beyond the mind/body, psyche/physis or ideas/matter divide. To understand the nature of the meaning of deep incorporation of consciousness and its expression through dance movement plays a key role here.

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