Dr Libby Worth

Research interests

Research

The multiple relationships between dance and theatre texts are at the core of my research interests. As a dance practitioner within the now newly expanded Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance, my focus is on the many ways that movement engages with and can expand texts, whether these are scores for performance or written plays. I have published in this area on practitioners such as Anna Halprin (choreographer and dancer), Jenny Kemp (playwright and director) and on the collaborations between Caryl Churchill and choreographer Ian Spink. Most recently I have written a book in close collaboration with Jasmin Vardimon on the processes she employs to create dance theatre performances.

I have worked professionally in devising and performing site specific dance projects and maintain interest in this field through both teaching and research. I am currently working on a second duet with visual artist Julie Brixey-Williams after our original work Step Feather Stitch, in which we deliberately misapplied early twentieth century embroidery and social dancing instructions to our movements and large scale sewing. The new work is a short film in which we dance on the roof of a canal boat and surrounding hill, drawing on sounds and movements from a domestic interior and on contrasting views of ‘home’.

I am a member of the Feldenkrais Guild UK, having qualified as a practitioner in the Feldenkrais Method® in 2010. This has contributed further to my interest in the detail of movement and the connection with the plasticity of the brain and each person's potential for creativity. My chapter 'Mining Anatomy: Dancing Naturally' in Dancing Naturally: Nature, Neo-classicism and Modernity in Early Twentieth Century Dance (see below for details) focuses on one of the pioneers in this field of dynamic and integrative anatomy, Mabel Todd. I was editor of the special issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training on Moshe Feldenkrais and I present at symposia and conferences on his work and its impact on performance training.

Building on my recent past experience as one of the three convenors for the ‘Performer Training Working Group’ for Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) I was offered the role of co-editor with Jonathan Pitches of Dance, Theatre and Performance Training. This has opened up opportunities for greater international development of, and support for, this important area of research.

In a new area of research I have begun to explore amateur practices of traditional and social dance with particular focus on the North East of England and the rapper and clog dancers of that region. My specific interest is in the complexity of these contemporary practices in relation to notions of identity at national and geographic borders. In association with this I am one of the founder members of the Amateur Practices research group at Royal Holloway that seeks to theorise and better understand a range of ways that amateur performance and making is embedded and active in contemporary culture.  

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