Oprimido Development

Coming together

Through my research I have found a lot of ideas, concepts and theories that have underpinned, supported and helped to develop my practice.

In this time researching other practitioners something came together and I had a light bulb moment. I was looking in to Sondra Frailigh and how she looks at phenomenology through her own practice and Soili Hamalainen with her thoughts on bodily memory.

Frailigh talks about how dance is not self-expression but is the art, the medium, that one has chosen in order to show one self. She talks about her time when she was training in Berlin:
“Dance was a means towards self knowledge – not a disclosure of personality but a construction of it, not self-expression as self-indulgence but a creation of self in expressive action that moves one beyond the confines of self” [Frailigh. S. 1987, p xxii]

To me this shows the movement created, specifically relating to my own work, is more substantial than self-expression. It is me. It is my experience. This is liberating to me, although also slightly terrifying, to be able to stand and move and just be me. To show my experience in the way I experienced it not the way I think it should be shown is so powerful. Reading this has given me more confidence in what I am doing and the confidence to be able to share the work.

Hamalainen talks about bodily memory, which is exactly what I have been trying to tap into without having the words to say that is what it is. Linking back to Frailigh’s thought on self-expression, Hamalinen also sees movement not as self-expression or an expression of what was felt but a memory in the body that is able to produce movement. The movement is a memory its self not an expression of one.

I remember times of being sat still but my body feeling so full of turmoil and movement. I wasn’t physically moving in that moment but that memory of how the body felt I have let come out now as movement. Similarly, my body remembers feeling trapped, which is what I was exploring during my last rehearsal. And feeling so utterly exhausted and drained, which is also an obvious moment in the piece.

“The way in which we comprehend our own body is reliant on a history of bodily responses to surrounding circumstances” [Hamalinen. S. 2007, p58/59]

All of these bodily memories have informed my work. It links back to the lived body theory that I have spoken about and how the experience is received by the body, it had time to process and now it is coming back out in the movement.

Taking these thoughts forward, I feel confident to share my work later this week. I know the movement, it will now be a case of getting in to the right mind frame. Thinking and recreating those memories both in the mind and the body.


Fraleigh, S. H. (1987). Dance and the lived body: A descriptive aesthetics. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Rouhiainen L. (2007) Ways of Knowing in Dance and Art Finland: Theatre Academy

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