DAY 1: What makes us remember dance?

DAJ dance writer, Stella reflects on the day 1 tasks led by Adam, where we thought about dancing textures, tastes, sensations and how we remember dance. 

“Reflecting on the improvisation task, I really wanted to challenge my movement vocabulary and embody different textures and dynamics. I started with the colour light blue, thinking about fluidity and cloud-like lightness. I then moved to a metallic, silvery grey colour, embodying quite a rigid, automated and robotic movements. I then moved to a bouncy pillowy soft, marshmallow pink. 

It’s interesting how even before the notion or imagery of food was incorporated into the task, I had already subconsciously made a link between colours, food and movement. I found that I rely on my memory of doing similar tasks to help keep the imagery strong, for instance I recalled tasks where I had been encouraged to move through toffee or syrup. 

When we moved to the next aspect of the task and were told to embody food, I was really striving to embody the texture of crackers — something crunchy, sharp but also small and delicate. In hindsight, to take the task further, I would like to explore how I could embody the experience of digesting and ingesting a certain food. 

This day really challenged my immediate response to writing dance, whereas I tend to favour analytical and technical descriptions of dance, particularly focussing on the movement, Adam’s task pushed me beyond my dancing and writing habits. I began to express the dance through imagery of food, textures, affectations and metaphors, something which I had never ventured to do before. I found a depth to the work that a purely descriptive traditional review could not capture.”


  • When writing about dance (whether it be reviews or poetic responses) should we think about being faithful to the original work? Or artist? Are we ‘in service’ to anyone? Or should writing be not in service to readers or artists, but as an art in itself?
  • Is there such a thing as impartiality when you’re part of the process?
  • How much creative license do writers have?
  • How sensitive must they be to original work?
  • How does memory affect how we remember certain parts of a performance?


    “Dancing with a colour is easier than I thought it might be. I don’t know if I was ever ‘doing it’ but I was thinking about it and my body was responding or leading me to new things and to openness through that notion of movement as colour and so it felt true. Digesting food and thinking about a menu. I enjoyed this. I thought of Italy at times. Maybe Treviso, or maybe the dinner we had out at the restaurant on our last evening in Fasano, or penultimate evening in Italy last summer. I felt fizzy at some points, my movement was fizzy and this made me feel good, strange. I felt good and strange when I felt, embodied, located fizz. Pink and orange stayed with me.”

    “I moved to green and into green and this was pleasurable. I did not think that this was going to be so pleasurable. And yet it was. I enjoyed it a lot and it gave some very nice added extra something to my moving and I was very grateful for this. It felt sweet. I felt sweet. I enjoyed being in the room. It was tiring, I was judging the task and wondering if I was delivering it the way Giordana wanted. I hope that it was. I felt free and easy in my shoulders when I was green, and going from green to pink. I feel fully and less like I have to judge myself in this space with these people. It feels good. I thought I saw lots of colours.” 

    “There was a lot of pink and orange, on people’s clothes and in the room, or so it felt. I did not taste a lot but I did experience some textures, like sorbet, smooth creamy ice. Rich. Something rich was in my moving. Something zesty. Refreshing, light. There was not a lot of heaviness at all, considering we had just had lunch. I wonder when ten minutes will be up because it feels like it has been a long time but I am trusting that my phone will go off at the right time. Maybe any moment now. Maybe as I go to walk across the room now.”

    Want to read about Day 2? Find out here!

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