294 Pages
    by Routledge

    294 Pages
    by Routledge

    In What a Body Can Do, Ben Spatz develops, for the first time, a rigorous theory of embodied technique as knowledge. He argues that viewing technique as both training and research has much to offer current debates over the role of practice in the university, including the debates around "practice as research." 

    Drawing on critical perspectives from the sociology of knowledge, phenomenology, dance studies, enactive cognition, and other areas, Spatz argues that technique is a major area of historical and ongoing research in physical culture, performing arts, and everyday life.


    Foreword ix


    Acknowledgements xi

    Introduction: What Can a Body Do? 1

    A body can … 1

    Five stories 5

    From performance to practice 9

    Embodiment and sustainability 11

    Methodology and chapters 14

    1 An epistemology of practice 23

    Which epistemology? 23

    A selective genealogy of technique 26

    The structure of practice 38

    Branches and pathways 44

    Linguistic peninsulas 48

    Sedimented agency 50

    The trope of excess 56

    Research in embodied technique 60

    The problem of the substrate 64

    2 The invention of postural yoga 73

    Yoga and physical culture 73

    A royal success 75

    The yoga wars 80

    Healthism and “performance” 83

    Two studios in the East Village 86

    The gendering of yoga 92

    Between athletics and somatics 95

    A therapeutic turn 100

    What is physical education? 104

    3 Actors without a theatre 113

    Craft and presence 113

    Beyond “actor training” 117

    Stanislavski’s threshold 122

    The method of physical actions 129

    Grotowski’s legacy 132

    Songs and other epistemic objects 136

    A research culture in acting 147

    Interdisciplinarities 153

    Laboratories 163

    4 Gender as technique 171

    How to slice a cheese 171

    Research in everyday life 175

    The problem of sexual difference 179

    Fracturing the feminine 186

    Masculinities 191

    Identity and inertia 197

    Current research in gender 203

    New paradigms 209

    5 Embodied research in the university 217

    Blue skies? 217

    The epistemic impulse 221

    “Practice as Research” 225

    The archive and epistemic distance 234

    Research design and methodology 242

    The fourth division 247

    Bibliography 253

    Index 275


    Ben Spatz is Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Huddersfield. He holds a PhD in Theatre from The Graduate Center, CUNY, and has been a member of the Performance as Research working groups of both IFTR and ASTR. Ben is founder and artistic director of Urban Research Theater since 2004.

    "Ben Spatz’ examination of concepts of technique and practice in embodied knowledge is a richly rewarding read, both for its rigorous discussion and clarification of ideas which can often be confused and confusing, and for its thought-provoking analysis of a range of examples." --Susie Crow, Oxford Dance Writers