Rita Marcalo

Placement at Yorkshire Dance

Involuntary Dances

Posted by Judi Coe on 25th September 2008

An extract from Rita Marcalo’s document:

Involuntary Dances is the first stage of what is expected to be a major internationally funded collaborative research project taking place in 2010. At this stage the objective is to undertake preliminary conceptual research and research into future potential partners and funding, in order to facilitate its realisation.

The particular scientific area that Involuntary Dances focuses on is research into anti-convulsion (epilepsy) drugs. Why? Because I know it. Because my body (my muscles, my nervous system, my brain) knows it. Because, as a dancer, an epileptic seizure is everything that my dancing body is not. It is lack of control, it is lack of consciousness, it is lack of body image. It is my ‘other’ body. It is my ‘other’ identity as a disabled person. It is my ‘other’ repertoire of (involuntary) dances: the one no one ever sees.

The first stage of Involuntary Dances is a residency at GlaxoSmithKline (in Harlow Town), during which I will familiarise myself with the environment of scientific research at what is the largest pharmaceutical research facility in Europe.

During this residency I will interview staff about current research projects in anti-convulsion drugs, and I will undertake guided study and reading in and around epilepsy as a condition. This will result in writing a literature review. It is also during this stage of the research that a survey of potential future partners and funding bodies will be conducted.

A second stage of the project will involve studio/laboratory interrogation of questions arising from the previous stage of the project, in collaboration with a musician and a filmmaker.

A final stage involves the bringing together of the results of the previous two stages into the following research outputs:

• a series of live or film performance sketches (sharing of work in progress);
• a research proposal for a major internationally funded collaborative research project, detailing possible international funding avenues and partners.