Being in Pieces: Integrating Dance, Identity and Mental Health

Mark Edward, Fiona Bannon

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Informed by reflective narration of one of the authors this chapter explores ways in which his career in dance has been challenged through mental ill health and the physical and emotional disruptions of age. The aim is to ‘position’ the performer as self, writer and researcher researched. Through the process the reader glimpses a reflexive dialogue concerned with transitions in ‘identity’ traced through embodied memory, dancing nostalgia, loss, reluctance, mental illness, and difference. In framing what they call a 'lifespan model', Myers, Sweeney and Witmer define wellness as '…a way of life oriented toward optimal health and well-being in which the body, mind, and spirit are integrated … to live more fully…”(1998: ). In order to explore this realm we engage with a construction of selves, where performance is not separated from the experience gained in making meaning of life, to paraphrase Kaprow and Kelly (1992). Our interest is to embrace realms of personal knowledge through appraising being-embodied and being-imaged and where being multiple and being singular tasks us with the curious phenomena of self-recognition. To address the affective resonance of self-recognition Being in Pieces utilises the material archive from the performances and installations of Falling Apart at the Seams (2008), Council House Movie Star (2012) and Dying Swans (2013) by delving into a distant dancing self and the somatic archaeology of performing past(s) retrieved, re-negotiated and re-languaged.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook for Dance and Wellbeing
    EditorsSophia Lycouris, Vicky Karkou, Sue Oliver
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780199949298
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017


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