Universiteit Leiden

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Suzan Tunca

PhD candidate

Dr. S.A. Tunca
+31 71 527 2727


Spiritual Corporeality: Towards Embodied Gnosis through a Dancing Language

The artistic-epistemic aim of this investigation is to unveil new perspectives on relations between the sensible and the intuitively intelligible. It is my aim to weave ‘corporeal theory’ and ‘discursive practice’ together into a ‘dancing language’. This dancing language conducts movement and thought from a state of being suspended between the physically sensible and the intuitively intelligible towards a place where they come together. ‘Corporeal theory’ refers to embodied as well as verbal reflections on dance experience as seen from my perspective. The ‘discursive practice’ engages thought in dialogue with perspectives from physics and psychology on the one hand and metaphysics and revelation on the other.

The interaction between ‘corporeal theory’ and ‘discursive practice’ and its resulting ‘dancing language’ supports the main argument: that the dancing body can act as a creative interface between the physical and the metaphysical. The dancing body is attuned to become a vehicle for perception and cognition that investigates and communicates numinous dimensions of embodied experience.

The gap between a wordless corporeal and a verbal, interrogating discourse is bridged by three key concepts: ‘spiritual corporeality’, ‘altered states of knowing’ and ‘embodied gnosis’. Outcomes of this investigation are a dance and music performance that enacts radical openings towards the unknown; a research documentation based on the method of retrospective dance writing by annotating videos of the creative process; and a written dissertation. Together, they unfold meaning, uniting dichotomies between gravity and levity, between physis and psyche, between matter and spirit. The aim is to better understand the nature and potential meaning of deep incorporation of consciousness and its evolving expression.

PhD supervisor

Prof.dr. Janneke Wesseling

Teaching activities

Artistic research at the BA dance department at Codarts Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Rotterdam.

Curriculum vitae

Suzan Tunca (1975, Germany) studied theatre dance at the highschool for the arts in Arnhem (1994-97). Since 1998 she has worked as a dancer, choreographer and choreographic assistant in the Netherlands and internationally, among others with Krisztina de Châtel and Dylan Newcomb. Between 2005-2013 she danced with Emio Greco | PC.  2007 she was nominated for the “swan most impressive dance performance” in the Netherlands. 2015 she completed a research MA artistic research at the University of Amsterdam with a video work and live performance at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam.
Suzan is currently responsible for the dance research activities at ICKamsterdam, the development and implementation of the artistic research curriculum for dancers at CODARTS, and member of DASresearch THIRD.
With her work as a dance researcher in professional and educational contexts and as a performing artist, she aims to contribute to the continous regeneration and advancement of dance as an autonomous art form and as an invaluable source for embodied knowledge and understanding.

PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Academie der Kunsten


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