Dance-maker Lucinda Coleman making dance with wily words and syllables that clamber to be stories gently moving.


Summer, 2019-20

Life is a dance. I brush the air with my fingertips, twisting through space. I bend in to listen as another dancer speaks. Our conversation spirals larger and wider as we gesture and laugh, our feet shifting us forward. We emulate each other. We play. The taller lilting body catapults sideways, launching a complex manipulation of bone, muscle and sinew. The movement is a unique imprint on the surface of the earth–and on me, as I scurry to keep up. I call out, my heart beating faster. I skip, trip, and reach to catch hold of the tilting form ahead. I want to understand the inflection of monologue, and interject my own thoughts. The extensions of the other body compel me to wait and observe. I sway. My head twists left. I close my eyes. I feel the breath of a moving form, then stillness.

Life is dance. I am alone in the space. I feel acute loneliness swelling within organs restrained only by skin. My hands clench. I fall backwards. Caught by an instinctive reaction against gravity, my back foot thrusts my torso skyward. I leap high, fall hard: recover stronger. I soar, uninhibited. I feel the flush in my cheeks as I gulp in air. I spin by myself, and I balance on one foot. I make up fancy new steps, and giggle at my own silliness. I am partnered by time. Brimming with possibility, I explore the range of my body. I trust. I test boundaries, crafting nuanced phrases. I ask with my eyes, my knees, my toes, my spleen. I question with my elbows, my heart, my stomach. I listen with my spirit, my mind. The articulation of speech is distinct; the conventions of genre well-practiced. I am free to follow the path of the dance.

Life’s dance: unexpected beauty, danger, risk, terror. We try. We fall. We fly. We can be still. We can be frenetic. We are listeners, receivers, movers, speakers. The pulse of a musical refrain inspires, creates, incites, impels motion. We act. We invite contact improvisation. We love, embrace, and expand. We ache, hurt, and so, wait. And w a i t. As the bodies change, so does the dance. Timing is critical for changing the steps. We attune our bodies to the dynamics of others. Delicately, we exit. We return for a final encore; joining the cast gambolling in joy and perfection.


Luci 1 Luci 2 


Photographs of, and by, Lucinda Coleman, during her Ausdance (WA) Dance Artist in Residence (DAIR) Placement, at the YMCA HQ, Leederville, Western Australia, 2019, reprinted with permission.





Autumn, 2019

Goodness is always older than choice” (Lévinas, 2013, p. 57).

What if, in our beginnings, all is truly Good? What if it really didn’t matter what ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender, race, age, genetics, experience, qualifications, we each ascribed to have and/or hold? We are all human beings, momentarily dwelling in time on Earth. As our human forms develop, we are influenced by other things: doctrines, cultures, politics, histories, religions, languages, locations, teachings, aspirations. The shape of our being in time engages us with Others. We begin to articulate our preferences, likes, and dislikes through engagement with the ideas, beliefs, and interests of other people. We decide on things. We choose to believe our thoughts and ideas are good and right. We choose to invite other things into the goodness of One. Our human perspectives lead us to deliberate over choices that may not have previously existed, for “if the One could be distinguished from the Goodness that sustains it, the One could take up a position with regard to its goodness, know itself to be good, and thus lose its goodness” (Lévinas, 2013, p. 57).  

What if we only have choices because we have ceased to dwell in Goodness? 



Video clip of water filmed on location in Sottochiesa, Taleggio, Bergamo, Italy, during the NAHResidency, by Ellen Avery, 2018, used with permission.



Lévinas, E. (2013). Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence (A. Lingis, Trans.). Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Duquesne University Press.



Summer, '18-'19

. . . no book can teach what can be learned only in childhood if you lend an alert ear and eye to the song and flight of birds.

(Calvino, 1999, p. 21)

Recently, my eldest daughter decided to fold 1,000 paper cranes as a gift for her cousin. A friend was visiting Japan and sourced 1,000 small, square sheets of exquisite origami paper: smooth patterned colours on one side and textured neutrals on the other. My daughter was moved by the story of Sadako Sasaki, a child ‘hibakusha’ (atom-bomb survivor) who died from leukaemia, before achieving her goal of folding 1,000 cranes as a wish for world peace. The tradition of gifting 1,000 cranes, strung on fine lines, as a wish for others, inspired my daughter. And so, she began.

She folded herself into each winged crane. As she lined the edges and ran her nails along seams, her breathing became precise: meticulous. Peace settled within and around her with each careful gesture. In the pockets of her spare time emerged birds of happiness that gathered as ‘senbazuru’–1,000 paper ‘orizuru’ later to be held together by string. She handled each delicate piece with respect: select, smooth, crease twenty-two-times, set-aside, then repeat. 

She released the flock as prayer. 1,000 blessings for a lifetime of love. The installation was challenging, fraught with hesitation as to the right place to leave the threaded cranes. She left them swinging in response to inclement weather and wild winds far away from where she herself lived. A prayer without letting go, is a wish without wings. She let go.

What if each new day was like one delicate sheet of origami paper? What if we made our own 22 folds in the space of a day, and lengthened our own gauzy wings? What if we gently and meticulously folded in on ourselves? Our inside-reverse folds, creased well, might make one small thing of beauty–no more, no less–each day that we might live. What if the simple act of making one small wish was strung together with others in the darkness of night, suspended as prayer, waiting for the right moment to be released in flight? 

Holding, we could fold thoughts and dreams each fragile day and gently pry apart hidden wishes, flattening bulbous shapes and lengthening wings for flight. One folded piece alone is a gesture of hope. Crease each day. String a few together as a diaphanous gift for another: 1,000 blessings for a lifetime of love. Fold thoughts into prayer. Hold. Thread and suspend to swing in the world. Let go. Begin again.

Happy New Year!

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* Photographs of origami cranes folded by Samantha Coleman, by Lucinda Coleman, 2018, reprinted with permission.



Calvino, I. (1999). Mr Palomar (W. Weaver, Trans.). London, United Kingdom: Vintage. 



Spring, 2018


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*Photographs of forest trees in Margaret River, by Lucinda Coleman ©2018, reprinted with permission.



Winter, 2018

Another country. You.
Your skin the bright, sharp line
that I must travel to.               

Battle-line by Imtiaz Dharker (1989)

Gatherings often consist of checkpoints. In a conference setting, the first task is the official identification and registration of delegates on arrival. Border places loom as travellers assemble to listen and respond to a presenter: an inspection of sorts a whimsical checkpoint. Meetings within Meetings generate itemised lists for notation and confirmation by those who have clustered together. There are comparisons with Others as individuals meet, mingle, share, consider, exchange, ponder, and  . . .

Recently, I participated in the gathering, Panpapanpalya: the second Joint Congress of daCi (dance and the Child international) and WDA (World Dance Alliance) Global Education and Training Network. Over 800 delegates convened in the beautiful city of Adelaide, in wintery South Australia, July 8th-13th, 2018. Sensitivity to checkpoints was evidenced in an extensive program which included scholarly papers, twin labs, workshops, lecture demonstrations, dance performances and creative collaborative gatherings. I was excited simply to attend, present a scholarly paper, reconnect with colleagues, make new contacts, and . . .

My conference experience began just before the Panpapanpalya Opening as I met with other researchers during the ECR (Early Career Researchers) Community-Dance Day. I plunged into extraordinary stories from across the world in moments of one-to-one, face-to-face encounters and experienced slippage at the research checkpoint. More than the stuff of academia, I was captivated by the flash of a smile, the curious gaze, a tilted head and expressive gesture. I determined that my checkpoints for this conference gathering would be that of skin which danced the stories of experiences in realms far from my own. I sought out the thoughts swinging behind lanyards; the ideas brimming in the sub-text of presentations. I said YES when invited for a glass of Barossa red with exceptional researchers, who are simply exceptional people. I said YES to dancers performing, to answering questions, to sharing a coffee, to making new friends, and . . .

I was reminded why I attend conference gatherings: for the serendipitous checkpoints. In the unexpected conversations, I unearthed other worlds. In dropping into seminars, sliding into theatre seats, holding my breath during street performances, I noted the bright sharp lines that beckoned I travel further in, towards, and . . . 



Photographs of Early Career Researchers Community-Dance, ECR Day at Panpapanpalya Joint Dance Congress by Sarah Knox, 2018, reprinted with permission. #danceECR


Reference: Dharker, I. (1989). Purdah. Delhi, India: Oxford University Press.