Mike O'Connor

Mike O'Connor

DAS Choreography

THIRD Cohort 2
O’Connor graduated from the Amsterdam Master of Choreography program in 2015 and has a BFA from University of Utah. Working at the intersection of cognitive science and movement, his artistic work attempts to recreate and articulate some of the basic building blocks of human perception as performative tools. He has presented work and lectures at the Venice Biennale, the Mind and Brain School in Berlin, the Detroit Dance City Film Festival, ImpulsTanz, TQW and Spring Dance in Utrecht. He teaches creative practice and feedback to university students in BA and MA programs throughout Europe, is a somatic bodyworker and adapts movement-based abstract thinking and collaboration skills for use in businesses. His piece TERTIARYwas nominated for the Prix d’Jardin in the 8:Tension series at the ImpulsTanz Festival. His solo premiere work a waiting dog dies earned him Vienna’s ‘dancer to watch’ in BalletTanz Magazine 2008. He has also performed in works by Deborah Hay, David Zambrano and Willi Dorner among others.

Imagined, Bodily, Perceived Lines
We could think of experience as a layering of lines of different modalities; lines that we imagine, lines that we make as in traces of movements, and lines that we perceive sensually.  Lines appear as important dynamic data generated from the body in a variety of contemporary research fields other than dance. My research seeks to confront neuroscience, psychology, linguistics theories with practice-based research in order to “in-corporate” theoretical abstractions into concrete practices. What differs from the approach of previous scholars (e.g. Ingold 2015) is that I use movement as a method of inquiry and seek to understand what movement reveals when used to approach the embodied topic of lines.   By thinking of lines as a spatio-temporal energetic movement (Sheets-Johnstone 2011), an individualist thinking mode is replaced by a more responsive, connected space that exists beyond one’s own kinesphere. Documenting the research in a responsive, with-ness manner (Shotter 2012, 8)way intends to articulate how a better understanding of lines as forms that we create, and that, in turn, provide structure to how we think, could widen how we operate and what we consider a body to be.

Website: http://www.awaitingdog.com
Article: Metaphorical Objects https://www.academia.edu/27934733/Metaphorical_Objects
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/mikeoconnor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/awaitingdog/

'His gift was to search in the outer world what nature had laid in his inner world.'- Goethe

Michael O'Connor's focus during his studies at the Master of Choreography is looking at movement and interacting bodies through the field of cognitive science.  Love, empathy and metaphor are areas of interest as they are aspects we use to connect to the things around us.  We find meaning through comparison, shared experiences and embodied understandings of concepts.  While working with specific fields of thought that bridge neuroscience, philosophy, psychology and anthropology, Michael is examining how a dancer's movement has the potential to be qualitatively precise and to point towards new understandings of concepts such as 'love is an action.'

What are ways to enhance expression of meaning with the body in performance? How can we negotiate the internal/external, mind/body, top/down-bottom/up processes to be at a choreographic advantage? Detailing the physical and psychological methods used to create performance is necessary when finding alternate ways of choreographing. An aim for this period of research is also to develop a working language that can cross utilize terms between arts and academic fields.

Michael O'Connor is a choreographer, performer, improviser and teacher. He holds a BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. During his education, Michael opened doors at the University for artistic research and experimental choreography. Since 2007 he has been based in Vienna, Austria and was listed in BalletTanz Magazine as the 'young dancer to watch' in 2008 for his piece 'a waiting dog dies.' He has worked with Deborah Hay, David Zambrano, Willi Dorner, among others in a variety of stage and site specific works. He has been guest artist faculty at Arizona State University twice and has taught at ImpulsTanz, SNDO, SEAD, TanzQuartier Wien and with festivals like DanceUmbrella and Tanz im August. He is also a Fieldwork facilitator who helps guide artists in methods of speaking about work that is non suggestive or directional.

His company A Waiting Dog, makes work that focuses on the body in consequence as the main source of expression. His interests pull from philosophy, neuroscience, psychology and phenomenology.  A major component in all of his work are mutable qualities that are contingent to the environment. Words that are important for him in his choreography are: Attunement, Resonance, Modulation, Awareness, Exchange, Negotiation and Synchronicity.

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