Writer dancer

Dancing the writing?

As a practitioner of both writing and yoga, I have long been fascinated by the challenge of putting the visceral experience on the page. For how do you accurately portray the experiences of the body in words alone?

Using specific sensory details is important, without filters such as “I could feel”, “I could hear”, “I noticed” etc. Not, I could feel the sun on my face, but The sun hit my face. Not – I started to cry, but My tears tasted of the sea.

However, when it came to expressing the deepest of human emotions, pure joy, the silent anguish of loss, words have many times failed me.

Over the past few years, I’ve been working with the performance dance students at the Queensland University of Technology. You couldn’t wish for better yoga students – incredible athletes, and determined, sensitive artists. I have nothing but praise for them and the art form of dance. Surely the most demanding of all the arts.

For it is there, through dance and music, that the rawest of emotions can find expression, through the body, through sound. In ways that are impossible with words alone.

Lately I have become intrigued by the idea of embodying the writing, rather than the other way around. I’d love to take the core emotional events from my current project, “Dear Madman”, and create some sort of narrative dance cycle. But where to start?

I’ve been talking with Jennifer Roche, one of the lecturers and choreographers at QUT and she’s willing to let me in on some of the secrets of choreography – the art of story-telling through movement. Can’t wait!

So, how do you write the body? Have you found a way to express those voiceless cries in prose, or poetry?
Any secrets you’re willing to share?


  1. I have been finding that I write songs trying to express the deepest human experience, rather than poems. Your point about embodying the words has raised my curiosity. Would it be an individual experience for each dancer? Or would the experience only extend to an audience?
    I keep thinking that this could be great for writer-therapy.

    • Hi Joe. Your comments are very interesting. I hadn’t thought of song writing, but yes, better there because you have the music to enhance the words. Embodying the writing comes down to choreographers first and then to each dancer’s interpretation of the choreographer’s intent, or that’s what I’m starting to learn. YOGA is great for writers. Need to do something for your body after al that sitting around and it’s the best form of exercise, does your body, mind and spirit all in one hit! xx

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