Adesola Akinleye

Dancing the lived-body

There is no mind-doing that is separate from a body-doing’, choreographing the rhythms and relationships of experience

My current work involves what I am calling dance-based research. This is an attempt to understand peoples lived experience through the language of movement – the knowledge and storying of the lived-body. To take the body seriously when we talk about larger social issues.  

Photo of Anna

As a dancer I experience a world where mind and body are not separate but instead doorways into the continuum of embodiment. This is what dance can offer, a language for embodiment. My work has been about finding ways to understand and celebrate people’s lives through this language of embodiment. This has led to work that challenges dualist notions of time and/or space. Instead I have been looking at Pacific Islands philosophy of Ta & Va (rhythm and relationship). This is that we locate ourselves not in time or in a space but in our relationship to what is ‘around’ us (close to the notion of space), and in the rhythm of change(s) we experience (close to the notion of time). This is about exploring the making of dance for Place. The situation of now, the situation of the Places we make as we come together, or remember together.

I will be sharing the processes of translating (remembered) experiences into dance vocabulary, using the principles in formed by Tongan Ta & Va (Rhythm and Relationships). We will be watching two short films of the two works I have been making using these principles over the last year as well as discussing and moving together. This will be a workshop type format: working together to explore process and create movement. The creation of which is both a response to the ideas discussed and to the situation of being together – the creation of the Place we are sharing that day as we explore the notion of ‘Inquiring bodies’.

Adesola is a choreographer, dancer, researcher and teacher. She began her career as a dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem, she later established her own company Saltare whilst living in New York and went on to tour work around the UK, American East Coast, Caribbean and Canada. For her work with Saltare she was awarded ‘1999 national Women’s History Month award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Dance’ by Town of Islip, NY. She has been a part Canadian nation wide artists-in-schools program as well as teaching at the University of Manitoba. She has been awarded ADAD’s Trailblazers Fellowship and the Bonnie Bird New Choreographers Award. She has created a number of works including ‘Truth and Transparency’ commissioned by Dance Northwest and supported by Grants for the Arts funding from Arts Council England; Migrations commissioned by Manchester International Festival and Ludus Dance, lOcAte commissioned by Oxford Dance Festival, Trace commissioned by Dance in Herts (Dance Digital), and The Jingle Dress a work for children commissioned by State of Emergency. Her most recent work Untitled: Women’s Work an international commission by the Center for education of Women was premièred in USA in May 2014. While her most recent work for young audiences Light Steps opened at the Turner Contemporary Museum, Margate UK in August 2014

Adesola is a Fellow of the RSA. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in sociology of the body and embodiment from Canterbury Christ Church University UK. She has a Master of Arts in work-based learning: dance in education and the community from Middlesex University, UK. She has been a guest teacher / choreographer on a number of professional training programmes including, South East Dance UK, Wayne State University USA, University of Michigan USA, Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer program USA, and Creative Partnerships, UK. She is a Senior lecturer in Work-based Learning in the Media and Performing Arts Department, Middlesex University, UK.

Her interest in dance as the language of embodied experience has led her to make a number of works for young audiences, as well as other community informed starting points. Her work has a strong conceptual strand, ranging from theater presented work to site-specific to installation-based performance. She enjoys working with light as a three-dimensional inquiry and often uses the projection programme, Isadora.

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