Chrysa Parkinson

”Documenting Experiential Authorship” by Chrysa Parkinson

Researcher: Chrysa Parkinson

“Documenting Experiential Authorship” is a research project by Chrysa Parkinson, Professor of dance.

Goal & purpose

The goal of this research project is to discover methods for documenting the performer’s experience. Distinguishing between the spectator’s/audience’s role, the outside authors’ point of view and the live performer’s authoring of real time, the research focuses on investigating how the performer’s plastic relation to constitution, comprehension and signature in performance can be documented.

I have been working as a dancer for thirty years, with a particular focus on an expanded understanding of the role of the dancer. The DOCH/Uniarts community is a resource for this work, providing knowledgeable colleagues, consistent feedback and space to work.

There are many ways to document performance, but they focus almost entirely on the experience of the audience, choreographer, director or dramaturge. The performer’s experience is under-examined and under-documented. In the past 20 years, partly due to the inclusion of somatic practices into performance practices, performers have gained knowledge of the nuances of their authorship while on stage. This research seeks to develop methods for this knowledge to be contextualized and disseminated.

Research question/s

How can experiential authorship be documented? What modes of documentation can access and communicate the performer’s experience of authoring time, space and relationship in performance? 

Because performers often do not own what they perform, it becomes particularly relevant to keep traces of what they have experienced in order to keep track of the knowledge gained in live processes, and to communicate that knowledge to others.

This is how the project will be carried out
The research is carried out through live performance of choreographic processes, texts and lecture-performances. I am hired by choreographers to create movement materials, or perform existing movement materials. I document this experience. I then hire choreographers and editors to work with the documentary material I have generated during this research and create new performances and publications from these materials.


The project will conclude in June 2017. The details of the schedule are available here: 

Working periods: 
  • Movement Research, editor, May 2015
  • Veli Lhetovaara, choreographer, Jan - Oct 2015
  • Deborah Hay, choreographer, September 2015
  • Boris Charmatz, Nov 2015
  • 2015 Publications and lectures: Contact Quarterly, French Cultural Center, Movement Research Gala
  • Deborah Hay, choreographer, September 2015
  • Rebecca Hilton, choreographer, Feb 2016
  • Adrian Heathfield, curator, March 2016
  • Jonathan Burrows, choreographer, April 2016
  • Boris Charmatz, choreographer, May-June 2016
  • 2016 publications and lectures: Tanzcongress Hanover (GE), Dancehouse Melbourne (AU), KHIO Oslo (NO), Stavanger (NO), Open Lecture at DOCH (SE)
  • Rebecca Hilton, choreographer, Sept 2016
  • Editor (tba), May 2017
  • Publication, June 2017

Public performances of Research Project: Documenting Experiential Authorship 2015

  • Clandestine Sites – Sans, Veli Lhetovaara (Helsinki)
  • 20 Dancers of the 20th Century, 2015, Boris Charmatz “Musée de la Danse” (London, Tate Modern)
  • Letter to Tere, Movement Research Gala, NYC
  • The Glitch, French Cultural Embassy, NYC


  • 52 Portraits, Jonathan Burrows, Matteo Fargion, Hugo Gendinning (Online)
  • Ghost Telephone, Adrian Heathfield, Sydney Biennale, (Sydney Australia, NSW Gallery)
  • 20 Dancers of the 20th Century, 2016 Boris Charmatz “Musée de la Danse” (Tanzcongress, Hanover) 
  • Expo Zero, 2016 Boris Charmatz “Musée de la Danse” (Warsaw, Warsaw Art Museum)

Oct 17, 2016

  • Temporal Drag, Chrysa Parkinson, Stavanger Research Presentation (Stavanger, Norway)

Oct 26, 2016

  • Comprehension, Constitution, Temporal Drag and The Glitch
  • Chrysa Parkinson, Open Lecture Series, DOCH/Uniarts 

Nov 30, 2016

  • Presentation of Dance Department Research at DOCH/Uniarts

Nov 8, 2016

  • Public talk at PARTS (Brussels)

Jan 11, 2017

  • Presentation of Research at Fresh festival, (San Francisco, California)

March – June 2017

  • There will be additional presentations tba at DOCH/Uniarts.

Documentation formats: 
The above-mentioned performances were each documents of the performer’s experience. Film, photographs, dances and essays have also resulted from these documentary performances. 

Final Presentation

The project is presented by performances, publications and lectures according to the schedule above. The performances are each documents of the performer’s experience. Film, photographs, dances and essays have also resulted from these documentary performances.

More of Chrysa Parkinson

Chrysa Parkinson performing

Chrysa Parkinson performing excerpts from Rosas/Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker’s Cesena for 20 Dancers for the 20th Century, Boris Charmatz/Musée de la Danse, Tate Modern 2015.

Chrysa Parkingson.jpg_projektbild_1_mindre.jpg

Chrysa Parkingson.jpg_projektbild_2_mindre.jpg


NSW Gallery

NSW Gallery, Adrian Heathfield's Ghost Telephone. Photo courtesy of the artist and © Zan Wimberley.

Chrysa Parkinson_Projektbild_3_mindre.jpg


Chrysa Parkinson_Projektbild_4_mindre.jpg


52 Portraits

52 Portraits is a digital project by choreographer Jonathan Burrows, composer Matteo Fargion and video maker Hugo Glendinning.  A short gestural portrait of a dancer or performer will be released every Monday throughout 2016. Chrysa Parkinson’s was released in July 2016 and recorded in May 2016.

Find out more here: 52 Portraits

Clandestine sites: Displaced (trailer)

In this performance directed by Veli Lhetovaara, Chrysa Parkinson creates a role for an absent performer. This project provided a research platform for understanding what, besides physical presence, constitutes a live performer. The director and performer documented aspects of the experience of performing, which resulted in movement, sound and text materials that “stood in” for the performer. 
Clandestine Sites – Sans, Veli Lhetovaara

Check out the trailer here: Clandestine sites: Displaced (trailer)

The Dancer as Agent Collection 

The Dancer as Agent Collection:  Documentation of The Dancer as Agent conference held at DOCH (published Jan 2015). Website including filmed interviews and footage from the conference as well as well as original essays commissioned for the documentation.

Find out more here: The Dancer as Agent Collection