Costume as Somatic Tool in Dance Education

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Due to a lack of real costume experiences in dance and drama education, costume is an under-utilised somatic tool that can encourage students into embodied experiences of moving, performing and making.

In this session, dance artist and lecturer Lorraine Smith will reflect on her experiences of the somatic practices SRT, Butoh, Contact Improvisation and Authentic Movement during her dance training and early career, highlighting that although she learnt to be a ‘multi-sensorial body’, her dialogue between the internal and external (self and other) was unbalanced, impacting on performance embodiment.

Lorraine’s somatic experiences will be examined in relation to her journey into the world of costume performance, in which the haptic nature of costume and resulting impact on performer identity and embodiment will be discussed through an analysis of her costume performance work, including performances for designers on the MA Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion.

The session will then discuss the effect costume can have on the understanding and execution of the moving body, performing body and the devising process, and the subsequent pedagogical enhancements of incorporating costume into dance education. This will be evidenced through Lorraine’s professional engagement with experimental costume pedagogy and its assimilation into her teaching practice and curriculum development at Teesside University.

Finally, the session will conclude by advocating the importance of costume as a somatic tool that can enhance the teaching of somatic practice in dance and drama education, and more importantly be the ‘stepping stone’ into somatic practice for the more sceptical student.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
EventDance and Somatic Practices Conference 2019 - The Ellen Terry Building, Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jul 20197 Jul 2019


ConferenceDance and Somatic Practices Conference 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Bibliographical note

The 5th Dance and Somatic Practices Conference invites somatic practitioners, dance artists and scholars from a range of subject domains to debate and share investigations in the field of somatic informed dance practices. We will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, by reflecting back and looking forward to themes, trends, and issues pertinent to the field of somatic practices internationally. We invite proposals for papers, panels, workshops and other formats responding to key themes explored through somatic movement such as: screendance; dance science; spirituality; body and environment; pedagogy and performance; politics and trauma.

Through these themes, we will investigate:
• What have been the key topics of enquiry in the field over the last 10 years and what new histories have emerged in this period?
• What are the pressing questions that will need to be addressed over the next 10 years and beyond?
• How might we continue to develop sustainable formats for somatic practice and research, whether through conference, journal or other modalities?


Dive into the research topics of 'Costume as Somatic Tool in Dance Education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this