val smith, dance artist, Aotearoa New Zealand

Through various meanderings and blunderings in the fields of feminism, anarchism, contemporary dance training, queer theory, contact improvisation communities and somatic movement research I have landing myself deep into an artistic practice focused on the body - as a site of political inference. 
I have been operating as an independent choreographic artist since 2000 when I graduated from Unitec’s contemporary dance programme. My choreographic practice involves experimentation with altered perception, intimate experience and interrelational encounters where I attempt to create immersive and conceptually provoking environments for audiences. My approach to choreography seeks to unsettle a dominant conception of what dance is, where responses to my work are varied including expressions of fascination, intrigue or frustration, and feelings of confusion and/or warmth and care. My work has been presented in New Zealand, Australia and the US as part of dance and fringe festivals, curated events and as independent productions.

My current research is a choreographic practice-led project towards a Masters degree at Auckland University. The project challenges the spectatorial culture common to dance and explores alternative methods for engaging with performance. Microperceptual and micropolitical strategies are employed in the development of a choreographic event
Circle in Box . I draw on somatic, improvisation and site-specific methods in this work to create ways of inviting audience into a kinesthetically immersive performance environment. Deleuze-inspired perceptual modes are activated, proposing an ecology of participation in choreography.