Department of Biomechanics and Sports Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
Bio: Camilla Damkjaer, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Dance at the Department of Biomechanics and Sports Sciences of the University of Southern Denmark. Camilla Damkjaer’s research concerns practices and philosophies of the body, methodologies of practice-based research, the articulation of embodied knowledge and the modes of consciousness in circus, dance and yoga practices.
Title: Circus and Yoga as Each Other’s ‘Other’: Histories of Refusals and Exotifications across Physical Practices and Travelling
Abstract: I explore some of the processes of othering that circus has been involved in through looking at the representation of circus within another practice: Ashtanga yoga. Though Ashtanga yoga is known to be one of the most physically demanding and acrobatic kinds of transnational postural yoga, it has been part of the discipline’s self-understanding to refuse any connection with circus. At first glance, this refusal may only serve to point out the differences between Ashtanga yoga and circus. In Ashtanga yoga, even highly acrobatic figures are practiced not to be shown but rather as part of a meditative process reached through movement. However, this refusal also carries a more complex history concerning the relation between yoga, circus and other forms of travelling performance and the way these have been inscribed in colonial structures of exchange. I examine how exploring these histories may help us understand the porous and complex relations between circus and other physical practices.