On the Lived, Imagined Body: A Phenomenological Praxis of a Somatic Architecture


  • Christine Bellerose School of the Arts, Media, Performance, & Design in the Dance Studies program at York University




"On the Lived, Imagined Body" is a reflective remembering from the point of view of a movement
performance artist's training session learning to dance with imagined wings when in her lived
experience, the body of the dancer is aware somatically of moving with wings that do not actually
exist. The overarching conceptualization in this article describes the inner-outer tensions, the
kinesthetic, somatic, proprioceptive penetration inward and the visual-kinetic, imaginative reach
outward. The landmark work from dance phenomenologist Maxine Sheets-Johnstone (1966/2015),
The Phenomenology of Dance, prompted the author of this article to translate an embodied
experiential and imagined event for readers who might never have had the experience of a somatic
movement training of dancing with imagined wings as a lived experience. The phenomenology of
dancing as if with lived and imagined wings is developed further as a result of two week-long
presencing workshops taught by contemporary dancer-choreographer and somatics teacher Benoît
Lachambre (2015/2016). For movement artists and dance practitioners, experiencing imaginary
wings as lived wings means experiencing movement through mindful awareness and conscious
intention of a praxis of somatic architecture.