Reading Out Loud

Presentation for the MFA Choreography module ‘Dance Practice-as-Research’, Winter 2015. Michaelis Studio, University of Roehampton. December 2015.

“I remember a pile of books, an accumulation of audience as well, and I remember James Joyce being thumped onto the ground. […] And your poses are absurd and awkward and problematic. And I still remember, and I loved, the dropping of the books, and the treatment of these books with utter disdain. There’s something really strong about the ‘fucking books’ attitude.

And there was a sort of constant refreshing of the work – and that was about the new book, the new reading, the presence of the new member of the audience. And also about the increasingly absurd mechanisms, or ways, in which you might do this reading.

I had this feeling that it almost became vaudevillian, like a circus act: how far can this go? It was always a question for me while watching this: How far might this go?”
– Simon Ellis, Senior Research Fellow, Coventry University


“[…] trouping in one by one, which become more and more disordered and absurd, as the body became more and more absurd. I was really aware of how you were just getting into another sentence but slammed the book down before another came in. […] I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the absurdity very much. I enjoyed sitting, formally, watching you to begin – and then realising that actually this is not a formal reading at all.

I enjoyed the lipstick, I enjoyed your body shaking, as it was trying to read and maintain the positions. I really enjoyed the eating. How can I make this more … failing? How can I fail more? I really got that Beckett sense: how can I fail better?”
– Emilyn Claid, Professor of Choreographic Practice, University of Roehampton

“The concept of practicing failure perhaps prompts us to discover our inner dweeb, to be underachievers, to fall short, to get distracted, to take a detour, to find a limit, to lose our way, to forget, to avoid mastery.”
– Judith Halberstam (The Queer Art of Failure)

“What happens when you can’t do it? That’s where the dance is. What is revealed when you can’t do it?”
– Deborah Hay

“I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”
– Samuel Beckett