paradox praxis










“our bodies and minds are not two and not one…our bodies and minds are both two and one.”  

—Suzuki Roshi

and

“Each of you is perfect the way you are … and you can use a little improvement.” 

―Shunryu Suzuki

or, for short:

#paradoxpraxis

The inclusion of multiple perspectives in the study of phenomena can create a more holistic knowing. Somatics is the study of the human body from a first-person, subjective, experiential perspective. While I believe this approach is essential, I also value the objective, “outside-in” ways of working.

This both/and approach permeates much of my work and provides a greater number of lenses through which I can teach and design classes. A few sets of concepts that are alive in my teaching right now include somatics~dance science, process~product, full-bodied and high energy movement~simple and subtle movement, how~what, inner~outer, horizontal growth (integration, translation, the qualitative)~vertical growth (transformation, the quantitative), allowing~asserting, experimental~traditional, minutia~big picture, movement~moves, and learning how to learn~learning information.

The key to each often exists in the other. One can be an inroad to the other. Attempting to live in both simultaneously is generative. Occasionally, they blend and create something new. Each has its own definition and any set can exist along a continuum, one clarifying the other. If neither is repressed, denied, or undervalued, then nothing is “othered”. What could this mean for dance? For relationships within dancemaking processes and dance communities? Between departments within a university?

A true “both/and” mindset includes both “both/and” and “either/or”. Context determines which side of the coin I privilege at any given moment. More often, I choose that which is underrepresented or less known, but I never ignore its counterpart(s). Attending to both ends of any spectrum exposes biases, explodes the number of choices available throughout the creative process, and allows for many different kinds of relationships to exist between seemingly contradictory ideas. I’ve come to call this paradox praxis.

The graphic below is my attempt at a visual representation of how the different areas of my work as a dance artist intersect. I made this in 2014 when I applied for my current position at SDSU.

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