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This is a book about falling as a means of reconfiguring our relationship with living and dying. Dancer, choreographer, educator and therapist Emilyn Claid draws inspiration from her personal and professional experiences to explore alternative approaches to being present in the world. Contemporary movement based performers ground their practices in understanding the interplay of gravity and the body. Somatic intentional falling provides them a creative resource for developing both self and environmental support. The physical, metaphorical and psychological impact of these practices informs the theories and perspectives presented in this book.
As falling can be dangerous and painful, encouraging people to do so willingly might be considered a provocative premise. Western culture generally resists falling because it provokes fear and represents failure. Out of this tension a paradox emerges: falling, we are both powerless subjects and agents of change, a dynamic distinction that enlivens discussions throughout the writing.
Emilyn engages with different dance genres, live performance and therapeutic interactions to form her ideas and interlaces her arguments with issues of gender and race. She describes how surrender to gravity can transform our perceptions and facilitate ways of being that are relational and life enhancing. Woven throughout, autobiographical, poetic, philosophical, descriptive and theoretical voices combine to question the fixation of Western culture on uprightness and supremacy. A simple act of falling builds momentum through eclectic discussions, uncovering connections to shame, laughter, trauma, ageing and the thrill of release.