Articles

‘…wind in my hair, I feel a part of everywhere…’: creating dance for young audiences narrates emplacement.

‘…wind in my hair, I feel a part of everywhere…’: creating dance for young audiences narrates emplacement.

published in Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices.

Citation: Akinleye, A. (2019). ‘[…] wind in my hair, I feel a part of everywhere […]’: Creating dance for young audiences narrates emplacement, Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices, Vol 11, No. 1, pp. 39-47(9)

Link to article

Link to performance artwork the article is about 

Abstract: This article is a reflection from a moment during the tour of my performance work for young audiences – ‘Found’. I explore how the meaningfulness shared in the moments dancing together captures much broader narratives about the transformative connections of Being-in-Place: emplacement. I respond to Pink’s call to explore embodied experiences through emplacement (Pink, 2010). Therefore, I use emplacement as a lens to theorize experiences during the practical performance work of ‘Found’, beyond the visual aesthetic of seeing live dance. This articulating and valuing the significance of where Self begins, or ends or is continuous in environment shares inquiry with colleagues in architecture (Pallasmaa, 2005, Rasmussen, 1959), social sciences (Deleuze and Guattari, 1983, 1987), and geography (Lefebvre, 2004). I suggest ramifications on how dance offers somatic dialogue that can empower children to take part in, and become aware of, their own presence in the co-created reality of Place.

Keywords: emplacement, embodiment, Place, Being-in-Place, choreography, dance, children.

https://doi.org/10.1386/jdsp.11.1.39_1

young boy looks with an expression of wonder
dancer shows a cup to small boy.
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Educating the early career arts professional using a hybrid model of work based learning

Educating the early career arts professional using a hybrid model of work based learning

– authored with Peter Bryant and Alan Durrant, published in Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, Vol.3 Iss.1

Citation: Bryant, P., Akinleye, A and A. Durrant, (2013) Educating the early career arts professional using a hybrid model of work based learning, Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, Vol. 3 Iss: 1, pp.17 – 29

Abstract: Using data drawn from two cohorts of learners studying the Bachelor of Arts (ProfessionalPractice) programme at Middlesex University, thepurpose of this paper is to critically analyse the effectiveness of work based learning in improving the skills bases of early career arts professionals in the twenty‐first century and to explore the changing place and role of “traditional” concepts of knowledge and teaching.

The study identified three emerging themes in terms of the role of knowledge attainment for theearly career arts professional undertaking work based learning. First, knowledge attainment processes shift from a push model to a pull model, second the authors noted a change in theinequalities in knowledge attainment facilitated by the use of the web 2.0 platforms and third it is argued that there are recognisable differences in the value and use of experientially gain knowledge in the establishing and in the established practitioner. The study then suggests changes that may occur in terms of curriculum design, delivery and pedagogy to support establishing arts professionals through a work based learningprogramme.

Keywords: professional practice, connected learning, Web 2.0, establishing practitioner, work-based learning, learning

https://doi.org/10.1108/20423891311294957

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*contact*improvisation*: recognising institutional racism in our dance classrooms.

*contact*improvisation*: recognising institutional racism in our dance classrooms.

This annual event provides a meeting point for artists working within higher education institutions. It is a platform for artists to engage with a current issue facing artist teachers in the HE context, fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration.

September 2020 roundtable: Recognising Institutional Racism in our Classrooms  Independent Dance in collaboration with Dr Adesola Akinleye. Chaired by Dr Adesola Akinleye with Heni Hale

In response to Black Lives Matter and with the aim of being part of the vast and hopefully positive changes that can come about through crisis we asked:

How can HE contribute to moving towards a just society?

Our focus is to come together to recognise ways in which we might be unknowingly performing systemic racism in our classrooms, language, and sense of history. How much are notions of (hyper) professionalism tied up with a colonial outlook? In preparation, ID commissioned an essay by Dr Adesola Akinleye as a starting point and provocation for discussion. It is available here. 

Akinleye suggests identifying 3 important and separate lenses through which to observe and work :

1) ‘justice’ (witness, acknowledge, ‘that shouldn’t have happened’, I hear you’)

2) ‘education’ (understanding, comprehending the nuances of the system, what is this system? How does it ‘work’?)

3) ‘personal work’ (what is / has my role been in that system?, where is my power? in it / to change it?, committing to change).

These lenses provided a structure for the roundtable discussions.

Read the essay 

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Border identities

Border identities

– published in Spring 2018 Animated from People Dancing (Foundation for Community Dance).

Citation: Akinleye, A. (2018). Border Identities, Animated .UK: Foundation for Community Dance. Edition Spring 2018, pp. 9–11

Link to full article

Abstract: Dance artist Dr Adesola Akinleye reports on how a pilot project, Movement, Narratives and Meanings, used dance and film to voice the stories of people living next to the Northern Ireland / north of Ireland border, following the 2016 vote for ‘Brexit’.

Excerpt:

She stepped on to the edge of the mat to dance and closed her eyes… He lay in the snow and hugged the ground… She took a breath and seemed to fill the spaces between trees and distant houses…

Watercolour painting of three women standing hugging each other in a circle.
Watercolour painting of woman standing reaching up with her arms.

Places of home
The Cure Violence Foundation, initiated by Dr. Gary Slutkin in 1995, proposes that violence spreads or behaves like an infectious disease. Slutkin suggests the procedure for working with infectious diseases maps directly to strategies for curbing community violence(1). After experience fighting diseases such as tuberculosis in Somalia, Slutkin returned home to the USA to find similar clusters of death due to street violence. Slutkin’s theory for treating violence as an infectious disease draws on health strategies for reversing epidemics, summarised in three steps: interrupt transmission; prevent further spread; and shift norms (for long-term group immunity).

It does not escape my notice, as I sit reading and watching Slutkin’s work, that the people involved are primarily composed of Africans and African-Americans and are in communities I would call home. Slutkin’s model resonates with me. I feel dance-arts have a presence in the metaphor of violence as disease. Dance is not readily a part of the immediate trauma response of the first step (interrupt transmission) but can contribute to the steps ‘change individual behaviour’ and ‘change norms’. I theorise that within this medical-based metaphor dance-arts boost the ‘immune system’. They strengthen the individual’s ability to avoid infection and recover from the infection of violence. Therefore, dance-arts are important as a preventative measure. They would be a part of the ‘health’ of the environment, they counteract the degree to which an outbreak of the infectious violence affected a community.

Places of home

The Cure Violence Foundation, initiated by Dr. Gary Slutkin in 1995, proposes that violence spreads or behaves like an infectious disease. Slutkin suggests the procedure for working with infectious diseases maps directly to strategies for curbing community violence(1). After experience fighting diseases such as tuberculosis in Somalia, Slutkin returned home to the USA to find similar clusters of death due to street violence. Slutkin’s theory for treating violence as an infectious disease draws on health strategies for reversing epidemics, summarised in three steps: interrupt transmission; prevent further spread; and shift norms (for long-term group immunity).

It does not escape my notice, as I sit reading and watching Slutkin’s work, that the people involved are primarily composed of Africans and African-Americans and are in communities I would call home. Slutkin’s model resonates with me. I feel dance-arts have a presence in the metaphor of violence as disease. Dance is not readily a part of the immediate trauma response of the first step (interrupt transmission) but can contribute to the steps ‘change individual behaviour’ and ‘change norms’. I theorise that within this medical-based metaphor dance-arts boost the ‘immune system’. They strengthen the individual’s ability to avoid infection and recover from the infection of violence. Therefore, dance-arts are important as a preventative measure. They would be a part of the ‘health’ of the environment, they counteract the degree to which an outbreak of the infectious violence affected a community…

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Transactional spaces: feedback, critical thinking, and learning dance technique

Transactional spaces: feedback, critical thinking, and learning dance technique

– authored with Rose Payne, published in Journal of Dance Education (JODE)

citation: Akinleye, A. and R. Payne (2016) Transactional Space: Feedback, critical thinking, and learning dance technique, Journal of Dance Education, Vol.16 Iss: 4, pp.144-148,

Abstract: This article explores attitudes about feedback and critical thinking in dance technique classes. We discuss an expansion of our teaching practices to include feedback as bi-directional (transactional) and a part of developing critical thinking skills in student dancers.

The article is written after we undertook research exploring attitudes and cultures surrounding feedback in dance technique classes within three universities in the UK. and USA.  Using a hybrid ethnographic (practice as research) model we collected data through class observations, individual interviews with students and teachers, as well as journaling and reflecting on our own daily teaching practice.
 

At the beginning of our inquiry we were interested in exploring how students received ‘feedback’. We thought this would involve discovering more about the forms and ways feedback can be communicated to students, particularly how a climate of negative feedback can be avoided in the classroom.

However, as we carried out the research we realized that merely looking at how feedback is communicated constructs feedback as one directional. We questioned whether we had been placing enough importance on the notion that feedback can be transactional.  Following John Dewey, we take the term transactional to indicate dynamic, co-created relationships and environments (Dewey 2008).

Key words: dance pedagogy, critical thinking, ballet, contemporary dance, reflection.

Adesola standing with arms out demonstrating a dance move while teaching.
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Move Meant

Move Meant

– published in Skin Deep, Issue 8 Movement, page 31-38

Citation: Akinleye, A. (2018) Move Meant, Stuart Hall Foundation Skin Deep, Iss: 8 Movement, pp. 31–38

Link to publisher

Abstract: In this article I use the  first few moment of my choreography work ‘The price of a ticket’ as a metaphor to explore wider social questions about visibility and activism. I begin the article by suggesting. (Below are images from my work used in the article) 

Globally, cultural worldviews are expressed in the traditional dances of the people who dance them. How we understand and respond to the world is etched into the contours and form of our bodies. Therefore, historically dance has emerged in response to violence and oppression, subjugation and censorship while also symbolizing cultural resistance. From scars to muscles that shape our movement, dance uses the moving body as a medium to tell stories of society that cannot be told in words, like an instrument for telling stories of what it means to be human.‘ page 33

Excerpt:

I sit on a chair on the stage facing the back wall,

Only partially visible in the shadows cast by the houselights as the audience enters the auditorium.

They might see me but in my darkness I appear

As ‘not meant to be seen’: it has not started yet.

My heart pounds movement into the stillness of my sitting body.

The chair, the projector hung from the lighting rig, and the curtains around the stage

Have a covenant with me of a silent promise of dance.

My feet, ancestrally grounded, on the warm dance-floor I am

Aware of the height of the stage above my head.

Skin marks the edges of me: chest facing the darkness of the back of the stage,

My spine open to the entering audience as they file past me,

Ribs aware of the close heavy blackness of the velvet fireproofed curtains of the wings of stage-right

The stretch of emptiness across the stage from me to stage-left.

My breath is in tempered; regulated-calmness against the hectic murmuring of the finding-a-seat-audience – preparing.

And then the disintegration of voices to silence charts the fading of the houselights.

A projection shines on to my back.

The projected images lift the anonymity of the stage and we see I have begun.

I suck in the air around me

Draw it into my lungs

Blood it shapes the first movement, I throw my arm into the space

its darkness unites with me and defines the outline of my lit hand.

The grace of the dance is that, in that moment I blur into something of that place.

The breath of my outstretched arm prophesises the next movement

A turn spins the room around me, allows me to ride the allure of gravity.

My flesh cuts through the air and the room and floor conspire with me, so that,

I am the space I fill and I am the space my absence defines.

I am movement

This poem is about how I feel at the beginning of a performance of the dance piece I choreographed called ‘Passing 2: the price of a ticket’[1]. In this article, I use this choreography to frame reflections on dance and wider political movement.

[1] Title inspired by the quote from James Baldwin ‘the price of the ticket’. I changed ‘the’ to ‘a’ because the word ‘the’ implies that the ticket is attainable at a cost. In 21st Century I wonder if the ticket is a given anymore at all.

The publication features work by: Shailja Patel, Marwa Belghazi, Milo Matthieu, Kessie Alexandre, Adesola Akinleye, Maya Goodfellow, Akasha Rabut, Joshua Idehen, Yuna Chang, Belinda Zhawi, Rashayla Marie-Brown, Patrisse Khan Cullors, Anna Himali Howard, Afua Hirsch, Zhang Kechun, Forensic Architecture, Guppi Bola, iQiyah, Sweta Rana, A’Ishah Waheed, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Gary Younge, Ojima Abalaka, Michael Tada and Farah Fayyad.

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Professional artefacts: embodying ideas in work-based learning

Professional artefacts: embodying ideas in work-based learning

– authored with Paula Nottingham, published in Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, Volume 4 No.1 * Awarded 2015 HIGHLY COMMENDED PAPER AWARD by Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning – Emerald LiteratiNetwork.

Citation: Nottingham, P and A. Akinleye (2014) Professional artefacts: embodying ideas in work-based learning, Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, Vol. 4 Iss: 1, pp.98 – 108

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to present and examine the addition of a “professional artefact” to the course requirements for the BA Honours Professional Practice (BAPP) (Arts) programme at Middlesex University. This paper takes a case study approach using reflection, indicative theories and consideration of student work to evaluate the introduction of the “professional artefact” into the BAPP (Arts) curriculum. Following pragmatist and phenomenological descriptions of the lived experience as embodied (Dewey et al., 1989; Merleau-Ponty, 2002) and using learning models based on experience in the workplace (Boud and Garrick, 1999), the paper’s methodology takes the work-based principle of “experience as knowledge” to examine the impact of the professional artefact on students learning.

Keywords: professional practice, embodiment, curriculum development, Higher Education, work-based learning, artefact, professional artefact, work-based pedagogy, ideas

 

https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-09-2012-0036

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Health, decolonisation and the language of dance

Health, decolonisation and the language of dance

– published in Summer 2013 Animated from People Dancing (Foundation for Community Dance). 

Citation: Akinleye, A (2013) Health, decolonisation and the language of dance, Animated, Winter 2008 pp. 10-13

Link to full article

Abstract: As a community dance artist and choreographer I have been welcomed into so many lives. People who allow me and dance to be a central part of their weekly routine. But this is more than a romantic pass time, there is a vitality that people talk about when they describe the community dance projects they have been a part of. So many people I have worked with attribute that vitality to a feeling of well-being. In this article I am suggesting that the joy, vitality, associated with getting moving is more than a happy coincidence it is because dance is the liberating language of the body.

Excerpt:

… As we tentatively launch ourselves into twenty first century it is clear that there have been power shifts. We have seen the colonizing model of 19th century  marginalise people by using their bodies as evidence of worth. Gender, racial and class discrimination were all justified through suggesting the bodies of people ‘gave away’ an inferiority. In 19th century small size of women’s bodies gave away their fragility and along with this diseases such as ‘the vapours’ which doesn’t exist today (Harrington 2008). The small size of a specimen head of an African man was used to demonstrate African peoples mental inferiority (Gould 1996). Measuring and evaluating the body left some people’s bodies as appearing to be ‘defective’ or ill. In order to support the marginalisation of these people the body was medicalised. The body became the site at which your faults gave you away and a site to develop and change in order to overcome inadequacies.

This medicalization of the body treats the body as a kind of alien thing, which you must fight in order to control, as if your Self was trapped in a shell that needed to be watched and improved constantly or be at the risk of illness or immoral behaviour. The mind and body are separate in this colonialist model – the mind working to ‘fix’ and re-create the body, the body a docile shell. This is how the dualist model has been used in the rhetoric of colonisation. Of course the dancing body threatens all this because when dancing we associate ourselves as our bodies. Dancing melts the colonialist divide between mind and body; when dancing we are embodied. 

Part of the power of the colonialist is the ability to instil fear. We fear our bodies will run away with us, give us away by displaying some secret about our personality, will break, become diseased; dance challenges all these because when one dances one is stepping into ones body and allowing it to be a representation of Self. The dancing body has always been a threat to the colonialist. Under colonialist rule dancing was often outlawed (Ehrenreich 2007). Dance has a long history of being a site of resistance, a form of protest: protesting the isolation of the dualist body by joining with others to move joyfully…

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Orientation for communication: embodiment and the language of dance

Orientation for communication: embodiment and the language of dance

– published in Empedocles European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication, Vol. 4, Iss: 2

Citation: Akinleye, A (2012). Orientation for Communication: embodiment, and the language of dance, Empedocles: the European Journal for the philosophy of communication, Vol. 4, Iss: 2, pp.101-112.

Abstract: In this paper I explore the place of movement, particularly dance in communication and understanding of the lived experience. I look at the gap between corporeal sensation and the communication of that experience into wider social contexts. Drawing on narratives gathered from four case studies in British schools, I look at dance as a mode of language that can offer a methodological approach to understanding the lived experience.

I take the pragmatist starting point of embodiment to argue that the immediacy of empirical experience is limited by use of verbal languages alone to organise meaning making. Although this creates a deficit of means for expression, I focus more on the implications it has as a loss in terms of understanding and organising epistemologically. I suggest that different languages have a rhizomatic relationship, each having equal potential to add to the quality and ‘thickness’ of communication of the multi-layered experience of embodiment. A richness of communication seems to lessen social isolation and enrich collaboration and cooperation.

 

Keywords: embodiment, dance, communication, sensation, perception, language.

doi.org/10.1386/ejpc.4.2.101_1 

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Dancing the Digital Age: a survey of the new technologies in the choreographic process

Dancing the Digital Age: a survey of the new technologies in the choreographic process

– authored with Gonzalo Preciado-Azanza published in Journal of Genius and Eminence

Citation: Preciado-Azanza, G & Akinleye, A. (2020). Dancing the Digital Age: a survey of the new technologies in the choreographic process. Journal of Genius and Eminence, vol 5, pp. 37-52

Abstract: This article considers fifty-eight selected dance works created during the time period of 2000-2018. In doing so the work of renown artists Wayne McGregor, Garry Stewart, Dawn Stopiello and Bill T. Jones have been used as case studies to highlight how the eminence of these choreographers has engaged dance as a meeting point and merging point for humanity and ‘New technology’. The article reviews the impact of new technologies as an essential tool in the creative processes of dance and exploration of the moving-body. Innovative technologies in the 21st Century have offered choreographers new capacities for the creation of movement. These explorations into the performance space advance insights into broader questions of the human body at the intersection of arts and science. The choreographers’ exploration of the dancing form cultivates questions about how the human body extends, begins, ends and is present. As the digital age proposes new ways to (re)imagine the communication and impact of the human body we suggest these artistic collaborations also offer insights into commonalities and places of exchange across notions of art versus science. These choreographers inter-disciplinary artistic endeavors, into how the moving body transacts and is harnessed as a mode of expression reveal deeper possibilities of the ontology of the lived-experience.

Keywords: choreography, collaboration, dance, digital age, new technology, Place 

 

 

JOURNAL OF GENIUS AND EMINENCE, 5 (1) 2020

Article 4 | pages 3752

Issue Copyright © 2020 Tinkr

Article Copyright © 2020 Gonzalo Preciado-Azanza & Dr. Adesola Akinleye

ISSN: 2334-1149 online

DOI: 10.18536/jge.2020.01.04

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