Jason Marchant is a PhD student in performance studies at the University of Sydney under the supervision of Dr Amanda Card. Before he moved to Australia, Jason lived in New York City where he performed as a dancer and improviser and toured dance work with long time collaborator Lindsey Dietz Marchant.  Over the past two years he has taught in dance on a sessional basis at Deakin University.  His current artistic work is in collaboration with visual artist Alison Kennedy and philosopher, poet and playwright Mammad Aidani and he continues to stretch the practice with artist Shaun McLeod. He can be contacted at <jason@dietzmarchant.com>.

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Dance improvisation: why warm up at all?

This article looks at a particular moment in the practice of improvisation when the individual is still attending to unique or specific needs. In time, it comes before preparations that involve others, or the doing of something that is organised into an ‘exercise’. A practice rarely begins at zero moment with a group of improvisers arriving together with everyone ready to start. An allowance is made for a transition, and what the improviser chooses to do during this time is left up to them. This is the moment I am calling–‘warming up’ or ‘to warm up’. Taken literally the expression ‘to warm up’ indicates actions a dance improviser can do to prepare their body to improvise; a body-based preparation to attend to particular bodily needs in order to be physically ready to do dance improvisation.