chapter  2
16 Pages

Gaga as Embodied Research

WithAndrew Sanger

This chapter explores the dynamics of Gaga, a contemporary movement practice developed by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, as an emergent methodology for embodied research. Deploying Gaga as a case study, this chapter argues for the relevance of knowledge generated through lived, felt experience as well as ways of knowing grounded on bodily practice. In particular, I combine auto-ethnographic reflections from fieldwork completed in London and Tel Aviv, and phenomenological theory in order to demonstrate how the practice of Gaga may promote the articulation of a new (or latent) set of ideas and skills. In order to accomplish that, I pay close attention to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of flesh, chiasmic relationships, and somatic attention, as well as his positions for relational ontologies and embodied knowledge. Since the 1990s, scholars such as Philipa Rothfield and Ann Cooper Albright have critically questioned phenomenology’s relationship to dance studies. However, in this chapter, I seek to examine the chiasms between dancer, scholar, and ethnographer as epistemological sites, and how the methodology promotes radical, anti-dualist pedagogies.