Vanessa Grasse and Nita Little discuss tactility as intimacy, attention, porosity, and relationality (including the relational practice of forgetting). Talking, thinking and musing, they question what it is to walk as a forest (rather than in a forest), wondering how humans can release the need to act upon the world in favor of existing within it. The conversation progresses into the intimacy with home environments created during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how ‘civic’ is a relationship that can also include wild spaces. They speak about spaces, the way that urban architecture encourages constant movement, perhaps discouraging empathy.
To watch the video with closed captions, click CC on the bottom right of the screen.
Dance, Intimacy and the Civic is a series of conversations by creative practitioners, focusing on potency of dance within the personal entanglements, and social and public space. Part of a wider research strand, it focuses on the place of dance in public life. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the series also asks how dance can enable social cohesion and repair. The series is produced in partnership with Sadler’s Wells and University of Roehampton.
Nita Little investigates embodied attention within movement practices with a concentration on both creative and relational practices. She looks toward a future that recognizes our environmental entanglements and values many forms of embodied communication. A dance researcher, theorist/artist, and one of the founding developers of Contact Improvisation (CI) she teaches around the globe, guiding one of its forward leading edges.
She began nearly 50 years ago, working with Steve Paxton on materials that became CI (1972) and was a participant in the earliest performances and teaching that helped it to become significant within dance and dance communities. Through scoring improvisations, she investigates attention to ecological actions, particularly with respect to somatic communication between humans and between humans and the non-human. Within a lifetime of training, performing, choreographing and dancing, researching relationalities, CI, dance improvisation, a PhD, and a world-wide audience for her teaching, and lecturing, she is an activist for relational intelligence.
Vanessa Grasse is a dance and multidisciplinary artist from Sicily, based in Leeds, UK. She explores the crossover between choreography, walking-art and installation, as a vehicle for somatic experiencing and engaging with public spaces, through site-responsive, ecological, improvisational, participatory, and cross-disciplinary practices.
She is interested in how we experience and practice perception in our daily living, how we inhabit places and coexist with others. Ecology is an important aspect of her work, acknowledging our relational and entangled nature with environments, and with human and non-human communities.
She graduated from the MA Creative Practice-Dance Professional Pathway run by Independent Dance and Trinity Laban. She performs with various dance and theatre productions and teaches release based contemporary dance, instant composition and Contact Improvisation. Her work has been commissioned by Dance4, The Great Exhibition of The North, Dance City, Yorkshire Dance, Still Walking Festival, The University of Leeds, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, amongst many others and has toured across the UK, Europe and East Asia.