In the fifteenth session of Unrehearsed Futures (Season 2), South Africa-based dancer and senior lecturer at the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies, jackï job shared her practice and how she seeks to move away from sticking to the dancing body and rethink the way in which we signify bodies, limiting it by class, race or gender distinctions.
“What really animates me is the sense that my body is energized by what’s inside, outside and around me. All of these different elements kind of interpenetrate and create something that’s much larger than any part in itself, and much larger than just what this body seems to signify,” she explained further.
Acknowledging the violence unfolding at present over former South African president Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment, the conversation also veered towards how does one locate themselves in art making in the middle of such conflicts. This is also something theatre-makers around the world have been in conflict with since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.
To tackle this, job said, she reflected on the idea of presence. “Other than my being present,” she explained, “as in, you see me in the space, now, in this particular body, in a particular time, there’s also this presence of the things that are invisible. And that is carried through the practice.” She said she needed to remind herself of how presence translates to the presence of what is absent, the presence of what is in one’s imagination.
In her dance practice, job also seeks to push back against dance being only about form, and how high one jumps, one’s musculature etc. That is all external. While that is important, in a performance, when the audience perceives a connection, it is not about how high they jumped or how well they did a split. “There is this other kind of vibration that happens between bodies, and it’s tapping into that vibration that is a lot more difficult. Because that vibration literally makes one shake, and puts you on edge,” job said.
STAY TUNED! We will be publishing a long-form article about the talk and the ideas/themes that emerged during the session on our blog in the coming weeks.
Compiled and written by Phalguni Vittal Rao
Access the entire session on our YouTube channel: