Photo : Thanh (Sud Web) Clap clap , May 2011. (License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Research proposal

I submited a research proposal to the Freiburg Contact Festival 2019. It’s an idea which I’m also developing with others into a dance for a duet with two cellos. But the Freiburg proposal uses an instrument more at hand – our clapping hands. This is the proposal.

Research Proposal: in-between

Clapping chorographed: GVSU New Music Ensemble performs Steve Reich classic work.

The hall is filled with a cacophony of sound – like the sound of rain falling all around, as we –dancers and musicians – participate in this research. Our musical instrument is our hands, the movement of them, clapping or silent; and as dancers – our whole body, moving or at rest.

Our research will investigate the in-between. When dancing in a jam with an accompanying musician, we have a space between us and the music – one which is elastic and malleable: in-between movement and music.

Our feet upon the ground may be percussive; the sound of weight shifting is sensed when our ear and our bones are pressed to the floor; our breath is never still; and a movement in the air is as movement at an instrument. 

This is a simple score for a group consisting of two dancers and two musicians – a quartet. The instrument played by the musicians is their hands, clapping. A room full of people is many quartets, and with a crowd then a cacophony of the sound: ordered and disordered.

We will change the diversity and abundance of music and dance to experience a different space-between. We are both musician and dancer and in this lab, we examine the fragility of the space-between. Do we dance to the music or to the musician, to our dance partner(s) or somewhere between? This is the space-between: fluid; corporeal and composed.


Two dancers – dancer 1 & dancer 2 ; two musicians. What are the possibilities in leading and following the music where we change the relations of one to another. We will change our roles between musicians – clapping, and dancers – moving. Each quartet decides this score aspect.

  • Dancer 1 follows musician 1; dancer 2 follows musician 2
  • Musician 1 follows dancer 1; musician 2 follows dancer 2
  • Musician 1 follows musician 2; dancer 1 follows dancer 2
  • Dancers follow musicians
  • Musicians follow dancers
  • Musicians and dancers, all together

About the Facilitator

Andrew Wood co-founded Oxford Contact Dance (United Kingdom) where he has taught and facilitated since 2014. He’s been artistic director and a dancer in public performances.  This is his dance diary:

Featured image: Sud Web Clap clap, May 2011. Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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