This research comprises both a year long choreographic process, and resulting performance of the piece titled ‘Sonder’, as well as academic research drawing on the field of performance studies, to contend with the pervading idea, within contemporary dance, of ‘finding oneself’.


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"Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest—thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated." - Beau Taplin

While the desire to search within for a stable, identifiable self - the temple - is understandable, within a field of dance that is dominated by techniques and the disciplined body; it is, perhaps, asking the wrong question, producing an idea of self that is unhelpful. Rather than ‘finding’ an enduring, essential self, we can use an alternative framework of ‘becoming self’. Just as a forest appears to have a quantifiable identity, increasingly defined with distance, it is comprised of many nuances and complexities - life and death, renewal and aging, various shades and temperatures - with an unstable core that is in many ways not locatable. To conceive of self in this way, allows us to reconcile our lived experience with the multiplicity of our future. This pushes at the boundaries of what we can feel, sense, perform, and become, through our lifetime.