DAY 3: How can alternative creative practices inform dance writing?

DAJ dance writer, Stella reflects on the final task day of the Percolate residency led by Angel and Sophie.

“We started the day with an improvisation on the floor/against the wall, thinking about pressure, pushing and pulling whilst keeping our torso on the floor.

We then moved to the main task, improvising for around 30 minutes to up-beat dance/house music. We took it in turns to take pictures at any time or film the movement. We used the photos and film from this movement to create a collage. Prior to this Sophie spoke about Ekphrastic poetry, a style of verse that describes a work of art or scene. We created such poem after Sophie’s presentation.

This task really made us consider perspective, particularly when improvising. I found that I really drew on the energy of the other dancers and their movements, as well as the dynamics of the music. I became more conscious and hyper-aware of how I was moving, which again raises interesting questions about how the ‘gaze’ affects how we move. 

The task also really made me recognise how I respond to dance with text. I found writing the poem helped me capture feelings and sensations I had when dancing, a process that more traditional dance writing cannot enable.

During the task, we also looked at some random reviews people had written. I really liked how they capture essences of dances without describing humans or individual movements, such as using an extended metaphor of the ‘blob’ or identifying the dancers’ by the colours they wore rather than their gender etc. These reviews were interesting for how dances can take a life of their own; they may have their own code or logic (like a computer) that can transcend individual humans, and yet is inherently made up of material bodies.”


  • Writing is part of a wider process.
  • There is something epic about a collage documenting an event. It isn’t static. What is the value of making a collage as opposed to a review?
  • What is the value of forms which encapsulate an aspect of dance rather than its entirety?
  • It is key to continually experiment and not get comfortable with a single form.

In rhythm 
Two stomps and click 
Eyes not quite closed as they bite their lower lip 
Are we falling to the ground? 
Pink cheeks
Pink shirt 
Hair has swooshed to the right in a upward curl 
Are we falling to the ground?
Half of their body is cut out of the frame 
Caught in a rip tide of motion
Eyes closed tight 
          Are we falling to the ground? 

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