BrainDance is a unique project between choreographers, neuroscientists, physicians, philosophers and people with Parkinson’s disease. The project is an initiative of the cluster of excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools of the University of Freiburg and Theater Freiburg. At the core of the project is the interest to relate the expertise of dance knowledge and choreographic research to the research and questioning processes occurring now in the scientific and philosophical fields around movement disorders. Through bringing together the participants from each field as well as people with Parkinson’s, there will be an exploration of the different facets of human movement, and what it means to lose control over it.
BrainDance is unique in its focus on dance in neurological movement disorders beyond its application as a therapeutic measure. The project is a scientific-artistic cooperation, in which the research will take the foreground. A multifaceted system of research is built into a four track approach of exploration:
The two choreographers Monica Gillette and Mia Habib are offering a twice a week workshop over eight weeks. The workshop brings together the two choreographers with their exceptional demands in body control and physical research with people with Parkinson’s for whom movement is equally challenging – albeit for completely other reasons. The classes begin with familiar exercises used in dance classes and expand into offering other physical entries for movement discovery taken from tools they use in their choreographic process. This workshop is open to people with Parkinson’s, as well as the other participants of the project.
Secondly, the two choreographers have created a space called Movement Diaries of Physical Thinking. This daily choreographic movement practice is a way to process, reflect and question the themes of the project through an immediate corporal intelligence rather than an analytical one.
The third track is a series of ongoing Theoretical Clusters, which are meetings with people having expertise in the fields of science and philosophy relating to the project of BrainLinks-BrainTools. It is a space for reflection and discovery between the different fields involved.
Finally there is a series of Open Practices, which is about creating windows for the public to have an insight into the process and questions as it develops.
With a special thank you to the Museum für Neue Kunst and to Dance Emotion for providing the facilities and for the great openness and flexibility which they have given us, as well as to the University of Freiburg for the very unique exchange and financial enablement of the project.