Blurring Art and Scholarly Research

Bimbola (right) and Gabi improvise during the morning technique class

Today, during the third day of  Dance Exchange’s Summer Institute,  I found myself researching the relationship between positive and negative hydrogen ions. I haven’t taken a real science since high school so I couldn’t stop giggling about the fact that Resident Artist Matthew Cumbie and I were doing “science research.” It turns out that what I once heard was almost right–negative ions from the ocean neutralize positive stress ions in humans. It’s amazing really. Sea air is biologically healing.

Matthew and I spent much of the afternoon talking about ions and trying to figure out how to integrate our newly found science knowledge into a dance. I did some more creative writing exploration and we ended up combining personal narrative and movement in some unexpected ways.

The introduction of text and research into the dance creation process has definitely blurred the lines between art and scholarly research for me in interesting ways.  While in the dance institute I am regularly negotiating my physically discomfort–my movement vocabulary is still growing and I don’t remember the last time I was this sore– I am very excited about the types of questions that we are asking and the conversations that we are having. It is  a privilege to be making art with such critical thinkers and already I have so many ideas about how I can incorporate the art making process into my personal research.

Editors note: Bimbola Akinbola, a PhD student in the American Studies department at the University of Maryland, is blogging daily about her experience as a participant in this year’s Summer Institute. You can read her other blog entries here and here –S.L.

About Bimbola Akinbola

Bimbola Akinbola, is a doctoral student in American Studies at the University of Maryland, and currently engages with Dance Exchange on a number of projects and events, giving voice to the process through documentation.