Feature: Falling for Dance Umbrella
Fall again, fall better: Ruth Little considers falling as skill, rehearsal and homecoming in her second piece as guest editor for Dance Umbrella’s Definite Article series, which she introduces here…
Falling has long been synonymous with failing – the words share a common Old English root in the idea of dropping down and decaying. We fear falling not only as a loss of dignity and control and a precursor to injury, but also as a metaphor for our own mortality. Our stories end, as the singer KT Tunstall points out, with the ‘unique fall’.
In an increasingly risk-averse society, we seek to eradicate the danger of falling, but with that we risk losing a form of body-knowledge that might actually make us both safer and more articulate in our dealings with gravity and age-related ‘decline’. What would it mean to think of and encompass falling as dancers do – within a choreographic process of curiosity, control and embrace? Drawing on the practice and philosophy of parkour and the insights of choreographers Claire Cunningham and Robbie Synge, Fall again, fall better places the practice of falling within an understanding of contemporary choreography as a plan for action in an asymmetrical world.
Photo: Claire Cunningham in Give Me A Reason To Live by Ben Nienhuis Catch it in a double bill with at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells on Fri 16 & Sat 17 Oct.
Ruth Little is a theatre and dance dramaturg, a teacher and writer.
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