Alkistis Dimech on “Dynamics of the Occulted Body”

One of the presentations given at this passed weekend’s PsychArtCult conference in London was by dancer, choreographer, artist and writer Alkistis Dimech, “Dynamics of the Occulted Body.” After many years of study in multiple fields including aesthetic and historial she began to work  in, what she terms “sabbatic dance.” It’s explained on her website:

“In 2008 she began to advance a personal interpretation of the ‘dance of darkness’ – sabbatic dance – in which the mythos of the medieval witches’ dance is the central motif in a vision of performance that fuses the original radical and subversive impulse of Butoh with suppressed and neglected aspects of the culture and history of her native Europe. The sabbat as the ‘reverse spectacle, the celebration, in which everyone participates, in which no one is voyeur’ (Cixous/Clément, 1975) is the principle at the heart of the dance, which seeks to dissolve the distance between performer and audience, and between inner world and outer environment. The sabbatic dance aims to manifest the sacred, the moment of communion, by means of the dancing body – carnal, in flux, becoming, present.”

Part of the introductory section of her presentation states”

“First, what do I mean by the occulted body, and particularly its relation to consciousness and ‘the unconscious’? In the first place, it is the body; a body that has been obscured or overwritten. But more specifically, I equate the occulted body with what is anatomically hidden, or in the dark; what the philosopher, phenomenologist and former dancer Maxine Sheets-Johnstone calls our ‘bodily insides’ (Sheets-Johnstone, The Roots of Power: 172); that is, what is accessible to us only through the ‘dark’ senses: touch, kinaesthesia, proprioception; or what lies below the threshold of sensory awareness, such as those processes associated with the autonomic nervous system. In Butoh, this body is often referred to as nikutai – the ‘body of flesh’ or ‘body of desire’ – which is the lived, individual body (as opposed to a generic and purely functional one) and is the vehicle for the manifestation of the interior lanscape, and the realm of images.”

Read the entire presentation here:

Dynamics of the occulted body

Frater Lux Ad Mundi


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