'Dancing the Onion' postcard is part of the practice research project 'Dance Objects' (DO), which began in response to the adapted teaching and learning environments of the Covid-19 lockdown between March-July 2020. During this period, the kitchen of our Victorian terraced house also became the dance studio, where sessions in flamenco, contemporary dance, ballet, experimental choreography and improvisation were conducted on a daily basis. Noticing how rapidly the experiences of domesticity, dancing and the pedagogical were merging, my delivery sought to embrace and communicate the newness of balancing, spinning and lunging in a reduced space, whilst finding my focus fall onto the everyday objects that surrounded me. Tea towels, cushions, chairs, apples, the broom, and wooden spoons were just some of the domestic objects that brought not only playful and nuanced qualities to our dancing, but also offered springboards for discussion on the materiality of (Bennett 2009), and our interact-ability with the everyday things that surround us (Certeau 1980, Certeau, Giard and Mayol 1998). In its postcard format Dancing the Onion becomes what Derrida refers to as “a flight”, a form of writing that spares the reader of a “too abundant literature” (1987). Within the context of the practice research this ‘flight’ invites, rather than prescribes indications, thus avoiding over-verbalizing the facilitation of a movement exploration, and allowing a space for creative tension between the real and the imagined. The limited space on the page is an echo of reduced space of the kitchen dance studio. The postcard becomes both simultaneously a record of the practice and an invitation to future readings and explorations. With physical distancing measures in place, dancing with the onion was a way of being with other, with vegetable other, which in turn provided a questioning of the established order of things. As Marder notes “being with nature implies a heightened receptivity and openness to the endless variety of non-verbal languages that surround us” (2017); moving with the onion gave not only a sense of embodied gravity and roundness, but also offered an awakening to the ritual available in the everyday from the confines of the kitchen dance studio.
- Plant Philosophy