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Deirdre Morris // Teacher
IDOCs » Somatic Generosity - Documentation
Somatic Generosity aims to make a place for explorations of vulnerability, empathetic listening and subjective awareness. Being witnessed in vulnerability grows our ability to experience and offer generosity and develop an empathic practice of softening how we see, hear, or interact with ourselves and others in social spaces beyond the classroom.

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Somatic Generosity

In a classroom, I often witness struggle, with new concepts, choreography or issues of identity. The process of understanding the somatic heritage we carry, socially and culturally, through embodied practices, offers students alternative pathways to knowledge - embodied knowledge, traditional knowledge, relational knowledge. They can choose what perspective they will use to grapple with their growing knowledge. The lens I am actively teaching, is somatic generosity. Somatic generosity is a transferable practice into social spaces beyond the classroom, a ‘life skill’.

Inside the practice of Somatic Genersopity the emphasis in on developing empathetic skills. How do we perceive the other bodies in the room with us? Are we able to stay soft towards them? Or do we butress ourselves with our knowledge and history creating a fine hard wall that is impenatrable to another body due to our heritage? How can we as teachers create spaces that feel safe for others to develop emapthy? To grow empathy in the classroom, reharsal hall or the cafe?

With an emphasis on experiencing, I use a Butoh practice (20 years) of deep listening, to situate a curiosity in practices of making/doing, being/feeling, and dialogues/documentation of reflection. Utilizing a ‘free writing’ exercise to generate material within our cultural production ‘symposium’, we will explore a ‘softening into generosity’, taking some time to dialogue in different forms, as to the affective/effectiveness of the practice, and discuss the relevance of teaching these kind of ‘life skills’ inside our practice.
How often and in what ways do you find yourself teaching a form that turns into teaching life skills? Is it overt or subtle? Are you interested in teaching life skills? Is this a subversive act?

Poetic Feedback from participant Jochem Naafs

…..Both forms share some of the values that I described earlier: narrate, play, create and share. These feedback forms stress the position of the artist and more importantly on the work of art. They aim to rule out the first flush of opinions, either relevant or not, and postpone them to a moment in which the artist might be ready to work with these. Still they also emphasise the position of the responder as well and how a response is a communal act between responder and artist. It is about a certain generosity.

Being generous
Is not about gift-giving
Is about giving
Without expecting
A return
What would you give yourself?
What would you give your body?

Move your body
Not for a result
For the action itself
For the praxis

My body moves slowly
And suddenly
My arms sweep
I am watching her
I am watching me
Softly touching the finger
The hands
And then
Turning and turning
Around Peter
And again turning and turning
Around Peter
To the floor and end

I move blindfolded
Slowly, backward mostly
I get a bit bored
By my own moving
And then a touch
I get amplified; I follow
And it grows on me
I feel comfortable
I am willing to listen
To both myself and my partner
I feel generous
And then she suddenly
Has her personal agenda
I resist, I follow
Resist, sit down
I feel hesitant
I feel cooperative
And this combination
Is intriguing, is nice
It’s ambiguous, it’s generous

Subjective awareness
Comes out into writing down
Your thoughts and then
Talk these thoughts out
To someone else
Sharing them
And I did it
I wrote and now
I am speaking out to you all
Some hours later
And I still feel aware I still feel like being

Somatic Generosity

Attached Documents:
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SG IDOCDE feedback 2016.pdf
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[type: pdfSG IDOCDE feedback 2016

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[type: flvSomatic Generosity

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