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Process Record (Blog)

Inservient // Cheng-Chieh Yu

Rebecca Bruno

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Sarah Jacobs, Darrian O'Reilly & Cheng-Chieh Yu                                                            Photo Credit: Andrew Mandinach

I have been intrigued by the idea of Choreography as preparation. Preparation as a durational learning practice; a notion of kinesthetic liveness as an ongoing immersion.  


The practice:

Darrian, Sarah and I started working on the Inservient Project back in Oct 2018.  In each rehearsal, we began with a 60-90 min non-stop practice of DaoYin (導引)[1]which is a form of moving meditation re-contextualized by Huong Wei, a Chinese Taiwanese Martial Artist.  The central concept of DaoYin is based on the movement energy of “Silk Reeling”(纏絲), a silk thread unspun, reeling from an unraveling cocoon. The twisting, spiraling, unraveling and unfolding echoes the Deleuzian "Fold.“  "The world can be interpreted as a body of infinite folds and surfaces that twist and weave through compressed time and space.” [2]              


Movement breath triggers multiple diverging responses, an interconnected network; an activating unfolding and folding simultaneously.  Each exhalation and inhalation build infinite expansion from with-in, and with-out.  


The practice of Daoyin has become the essential foundation for our movement and choreographic approaches, wherein creative explorations can be understood not as a single existence but co-existence in interaction and dissolution of opposites. 


Daoyin is our learning tool, which conduits new access into our body; it mediates new internal and external discovery.  It is a reservoir of hidden ideas. It brews and transcend experience and enlightens our new understanding about: body in space, being present in the space, discovering the space, a process of moving air, touching texture, giving weight, taking weight, capturing spatial essences as one moves through space. The very nature of Daoyin enables us to move through the Sowden house, learning and inhabiting the space as we move through it, but also gaining empowerment as we experientially expand our embodied knowledge during our durational presence. 

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 Sarah Jacobs and Darrian O'Reilly                                                                                       Photo Credit: Peter Melville


The Sowden House 

The site is a housing of converging of narratives with resounding maleficence. [3] [4] [5]

We dare to enter into their intersection, explicitly male identified, an intrinsically violent construction of desire[6].     


Service/Labor/Female body

Service: We are conscious of the reciprocation in being watched in performance and spectatorship, and the art of managing states of agency. 


Through our internal Daoyin informed explorations, we are beginning to co-op and counter the mechanisms of an external construction of desire.  Relatedly, through our Daoyin practice, we enter a deeper embodied understanding of space, even if it can be said to be also a labor of ritualization. This notion of dance as embodied socio-spatial research implies a different kind of service, one that is deeply personal.   For us, our service requires an accumulation of a special set of embodied skills and expertise in how the body functions in space and social context.


[1] TaiChiDaoYin demonstrated by master Zhao-Fu Lin


[2] The Fold, Leibniz and Baroque, by Gilles Deleuze,


[3] The Black Dahlia Avenger, by Steve Hodel, ISBN: 978-1-62872-439-4 (book) ISBN: 978-1-62872-506-4 (e-book)


[4] The Massacre of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Love Cottage” 


[5] Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés


[6] Visual Analysis: Hans Bellmer & Cindy Sherman