EDWA 2020: Kelly Nash - Body I(s)land

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

02/12/2020 - 02/12/2020

Experimental Dance Week Aotearoa 2020

Production Details



Kelly Nash: Body I(s)land

Body I(s)land utilises the principles and beliefs of a physical hands on body method, to visit and understand an array of relationships and scenarios presented through the body’s own story.

Using ideas such as…..
Your hips are formed by those who carry you
Co-incidence is truth happening by accident and links all things
Unconscious gestures hold the truth of the matter
We read the present moment through our impact filters
Listen to what they say, watch what they display
Everyone is their own version of everything that has ever happened
The nature of the beast is to preserve life in all forms

This is an experiment to bridge our knowledge from our usual therapeutic settings into a staged environment such as the Herald Theatre, to have fun with, dance, share and extend our understanding of ourselves and our perspective of the world we live in.

Real time healing, reflective conversations, bodies in perpetual impact pathways, equalising each other’s internal pressure, touch triggered memories and supporting each other’s change.

I hope to further extend the belief that “the answers are within” to bring a depth of understanding to how our physical body affects our thoughts, beliefs and actions.

“The body knows the truth, the mind can play with the truth” Dale Speedy, ConTact C.A.R.E Pioneer and Founder

Concept and Direction: Kelly Nash
Body I(s)land performers and ConTact C.A.R.E Students and Practitioners:
Kelly Nash, Nancy Wijohn, Daniel Cooper, Rosie Tapsell.

Herald Theatre, 9pm



Performance installation , Multi-discipline , Experimental dance , Dance , Contemporary dance ,


1 hour

A response to Kelly Nash Body I(s)land

Review by Katrina Bastian 03rd Dec 2020

As I leave Body I(s)land by Kelly Nash, my thoughts are overwhelmed by a Toni Morrison quote I heard a while back: “You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” In Body I(s)land, we are invited to witness dancers and contact care practitioners: Kelly Nash, Nancy Wijohn, Daniel Cooper, Rosie Tapsell, and sound designer Rowan Pierce as they work through the shit that weighs their bodies down. The jaw that holds trauma, the dysmorphia of hands, the displacement of details in the stories our bodies hold. These practitioners are in it, and we are given the voyeuristic honour of witnessing them on a cellular level. This is what dance is supposed to do! It’s supposed to bring us back into our own bodies, triggering our mirror neurones and sense of empathy. I am left craving a body scan- an examination of my own physical histories.

The work interweaves the personal and universal, at times relying on a screen that displays compilations of what I assume is the British tradition of cheese rolling, babies falling from windows and balconies into the arms of everyday heroes, and tragic tumbles down concrete stairs: the contraposition of a hard surface and the floppy, vulnerable body. I think of the videos I saw of people jumping out of their windows in former East Germany as the Berlin Wall was being constructed. Of how would they rather risk physical trauma than authoritarianism. It’s about survival. The play between tension and release in Body I(s)land culminates in a delectable duet between dancer Rosie Tapsell and a jar of pickles. It’s catharsis at its best!

The absurdity of the object:body relationship, the fact that the objects that are supposed to ‘serve’ us are in fact the cause of bodily tension, and sometimes pain, runs throughout the work. Nancy Wijohn’s anthropomorphic solo with a pair of shoes evidences the backwards nature of those things we put on our feet (for comfort?). I am left thinking about my daily routine, the ableist nature of my own interactions with objects. How the objects that serve ‘us’ serve some normative body that is not representative of all bodies, abilities, or ages.

The title of the work Body I(s)land itself reflects the disparate and contradictory subjects this performance tackles: Body I (s) Land, there is a tension between the body and anything firm. I haven’t yet sussed out what or where this tension is going, but I can still feel it in my own body the day after. I am left wondering: What is a dancing body? What is the body at sound? In what way has my body been disassembled and then in an exquisite corpse-like way been reassembled by my own developmental patterns and avoidance techniques? And ultimately, the constant Cartesian nagging at the back of my head: “what right does head have to call itself me?”

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