Connecting expertise in dance practice with creative technology, clinical care, and cognitive science. Our mission is to develop and share practical resources for cooperative exchange. By investigating the roots of interaction, the Lab serves as a platform to bridge the research and practice of embodied ethics across disciplines.
Partnering Lab systematically investigates physical interaction. Site coming soon...
Somatic Enrichment: Ethics in Practice
The philosophy of partnering emerges from Lab Director Ilya Vidrin's doctoral work, focusing on the significance of empathy, discretionary power, consent, and trust in interaction. The philosophy has informed a practice-based facilitation method centered on promoting ethical awareness through focused movement exercises and studies.
Somatic Enrichment© is a practical method for evaluating physical interaction from the inside (by partners themselves) and from outside observation. Somatic Enrichment fosters modes of thinking, communicating, and practicing that enrich all kinds of physical encounters and interactions, from clinical practice to corporate meetings, from artistic collaboration to intimate dialogue.
Through guided physical practice, shared reflection, and facilitated dialogue, Somatic Enrichment combines the practice of moving together with the focus of questions designed to challenge and enhance interaction. The unique approach offers movers a critical tool to reflect on elements of movement, including touch, proximity, and mutual gaze. Whether the movers are students or professional in clinical, corporate, or artistic settings, Somatic Enrichment offers a platform to explore the roots of physical interaction in a world increasingly disconnected from the body.
Our research on Somatic Enrichment continues to develop. We are actively searching for settings to implement enrichment-based interventions. For more information, including upcoming workshops and events, please reach out below.
We have created a wearable sensor for capturing partnered movement. Using piezometers, gyroscopes, radio transmitters, and infrared lasers, the sensors allow users to modify controls that respond to movement, including sound and light-based outputs. Whether users are developing choreographic sequences or improvising freely, the sensors provide a tool for embodied reflection and analysis of physical interaction.
The technology is designed to stimulate a mindful understanding of bodily movement by sensitizing users to their own modes of physical, non-verbal communication. Similar to more traditional mindfulness practices, use of this technology leads to increased bodily awareness and encourages effective and ethical engagement between people in the age of modern technology.
The methods for this research have been developed using practice-based inquiry on partnered dance, including tango, contact improvisation, ballet, and Latin/Ballroom techniques. Users need not have any background experience in dance to investigate the subtle aspects of physical interaction. Sensors have been used in performance at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Center for Performance Research (New York City), the Harvard ArtLab, Tedx Providence, and the MIT Media Lab. Our artistic work continues to develop as we collaborate with dancers, musicians, composers, and interaction designers.