Season 7, Session 2: “MIRROR / / WINDOW / / RIFT” – a ‘Facilitated OPENLAB’ with Shannon Stewart.

 OPENLAB’s first facilitated session this season will be:

with Shannon Stewart


Photo Credit: Adam Sekuler

This session will take place on Friday 14 September, 10 am-1 pm at Chisenhale Dance Space’s Research Studio.

MIRROR / WINDOW / RIFT is a series of practices that bring attention to the experiences and implications of watching and being watched. How can we be in a mutually beneficial place of sensing and changing without inhibition? For OPENLAB, this is aimed at performers and watchers of performance. We will use tools/actions/scores that are familiar but slightly re-configured to look for rifts, illegible or unfamiliar spaces. Can we co-exist there?

MIRROR / / WINDOW / / RIFT is part of body-based theory practice*—an open source term I have proposed for putting improvisational and somatic practices and proposals in conversation with queer, feminist, crip and critical race theory. Within this framework, the threads of research are manifold so I will focus this session on one strand of inquiry that I’ve been busy with this year called watch her transform.

Here are some questions we will bring into the room:

What is looking at/watching/witnessing/observing?
How have we embodied very different stakes around watching/being watched based on POV?
How are we constantly changing? How do we experience and share the experience of non-fixity across lines of performer/watcher?
Do we need as much (re)training to see/watch/observe differently as we need training to undo movement patterns and problematic embodiments?
How do we share transformation without projecting onto another?


OPENLAB sessions are open to any performers: dancers, musicians, actors and anyone interested in presence and awareness in performance.

The facilitators of OPENLAB are also participants “in” the session and participants can propose their ideas for a future session. If you’d like to know more about this, come to one of our sessions or email Antonio de la Fe (

The sessions function on a pay-what-you-can contribution basis to cover expenses and as an incentive for the facilitator of the session. We suggest a contribution of £7 for the 3-hour long sessions (‘Facilitated OL sessions) and of £5 for the 2-hour long ones (‘White Canvas’).

Chisenhale Dance Space
64-84 Chisenhale Road
E3 5QZ

* More on body-based theory practice:

Critical theorists from many disciplines propose that we formulate our identities through repeated quotations, embodied gestures and acts that circulate and reinforce one another. These things are understood as individual but enacted collectively and reinforce interlocking systems and modes of being that further systems of domination, exploitation and violence but also (maybe more hopefully) forms of resistance, disruption, reimagining.

As a dance artist, it is interesting to conceive and reconceive of bodily conditioning and training and discrepancies between conscious and unconscious, intentional and unintentional, complicit and coerced. This learned “repertoire of life” is part of everyday existence but is also the very practice of dance – repeated bodily motions, repeated hierarchies, repeated and reinforced trajectories. Queer theorists and gender theorists suggest ways in which we can reorient or subvert our embodied inclinations. Is/can dance be a hopeful intervention in the space between conscious and unconscious? And in what form? A workshop? A forum? A Performance? A protest?

In cross-pollinating queer theory with physical practice, it is my intent to propose that the practice is the theory itself and the theory is the practice –that it is in the doing/experiencing that the theory is manifest and activated.


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About Antonio de la Fe

Antonio is a Spanish choreographer and performer based in London with a background in physiotherapy and Pilates. After coming relatively late to dance and initially studying it in Madrid, they came to London in 2006 where they completed a Performance MA at The Place, writing on The Creation of Solo Choreography Through Deep Engagement with The Application of Mental Imagery Specific Processes for his thesis. Since then, the has danced for Florence Peake, Matthias Sperling, Jonathan Lunn, Eva Recacha, Carla Onni, Annie Lok, Melita Spahic and Riccardo Buscarini and his choreographed works include the Place Prize finalist piece (2011) Cameo, an open OPENLAB: a hybrid, Va por Vds., and A void. They are also a co-founder of the performance collective anthologyofamess. Antonio was a recipient of the BBC Performing Arts Fund Fellowship, with support from Independent Dance, in 2015. During this fellowship, they worked on researching and developing their Unrehearsed Series (Crocodile, Make Me Cool, A Piece for Two: Lovers) in collaboration with producer Martine Painter. Currently, they are expanding on the idea of the Unrehearsed Series and developing a set of choreographic practices under the name Speculative Choreographies.

1 thought on “Season 7, Session 2: “MIRROR / / WINDOW / / RIFT” – a ‘Facilitated OPENLAB’ with Shannon Stewart.

  1. Pingback: OPENLAB’s Season 7 is coming – Autumn Sessions. | OPENLAB's Archive

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