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Amelia Jakasa : inner acoustics of my body

Choreographer / Performer

Seconds: Samantha Lucchetta, Jane Alison McKinney, Jacob Edwards-Schell

Amelia Jakasa


  • Use the audience in the performative space as collaborators

  • To structure the performance space as something other than the studio and to find the “narrative of the space”.

  • ?Explore the availabilities of the space and the body when hearing-deprived?

  • To have questions dismantled: to discover different frames for my ideas.

Beginning with:

  • Bite-sized movement explorations with and without hearing aids.

  • Idea of using the space and audience as participants in the world of the piece.

  • Personal vulnerability – combination of anxiety and trust

  • Movements that are expressions of impulses.


  • To start to cultivate a deeper relationship with the acoustics of the body by taking off her hearing aid and developing dance in that sound environment.

  • To explore performer-audience interactions: does my comfort, arising from my confidence in the actions of my body, reflect well on the comfort level of the audience?


  • What is the identity of a deaf-person fully assimilated into the hearing-world?

Questions from mentors:

  • In your dance piece, what role, if any, does the hearing-impairment have for the audience?

  • What is the difference in the dance when you are wearing your hearing aid, and when you are not? And/or Is removal of the hearing aid more a part of your process as creator–performer – to change your sense of hearing puts you into another sound environment.

  • Do you want the audience to see a difference in the before and after wearing your hearing aids, or is it more a personal experience? or a motivator in the process of creation?

  • Do the acoustics of the body change with/without hearing aid? If yes, how to dance it so the audience sees/experiences changes?

  • Did you notice that your different movement choices with/without hearing aid- noticing is part of the developing of a deeper creative relationship with internal acoustics.


  • When she gives the hearing aid to an audience member to keep it “safe”, it is a strong dramatic shift. it also explicitly brings “trust” into the performer-audience interaction. A challenge was to distinguish the differences in action when she is and is not wearing her hearing aid.

  • Determining what is the minimal and maximal amount of information needed to convey an idea?

Strategies used during CM to generate and develop material:

  • Pick apart sections to examine their details.

  • To clarify each movement section, identify the movement traits and name them as animals: e.g. boneless and low movement called “squid”.

  • Keep a silent or whispered running commentary on what she’s doing to help focus detail and connections from one moment to the next.

  • Identify the room as transformational- the wall becomes a floor, the corner is home

  • Practice until a section’s “state” is very clear, drop into it when performing, afterwards reflect on the development and continue the process.

  • Use senses other than “sight” to activate movement.

  • Follow curiosity.


  • Playfulness drew the audience with her.

  • To engage the audience, performer can drop into pedestrian energy-time in order to be “natural” and therefore part of “us”.

Development and Skill building:

  • Improved skills of dropping into the “character state” of each section.

A discussion point:

  • Characterization can be the primary factor. When developing character often sensation, impulse and energy are primary attentions. There are critical points in the process when other choreographic factors must be considered especially in terms of over-arching architecture, duration, and force in each character and, even more, the piece as a whole.

  • Improvised performance explicitly includes spontaneous discovery and creation. The creative process of the artist is essential, but/and it is not necessarily what that is received by the audience. The individual audience member receives only what s/he experiences at that moment and engages through personal connections. The performer-creator (improviser) with skill can recognize the communication going on with the audience and add that to the improvisation’s development.

To Practice:

  • Keep practicing without your hearing aids.

  • Keep paying attention to the details of your dancing self.

  • Keep practicing visioning the whole dance as it unfolds when you improvise/perform.

What next:

  • The work was further developed for a performance at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival, and other performances in 2018-19.

Amelia Nyla Jakasa [æstridr] (2018 Toronto) is a deaf emerging Toronto-based contemporary dance artist. Pursuing double minors in French and Italian at the University of Toronto, she is also Event Coordinator of the Festival of Dance, and Vice President of the U.ofT. Dance Club. She has had the privilege of working with Amanda Acorn, Mate Meszaros, Jane Alison McKinney, Allen and Karen Kaeja, Pulga Muchochoma, Yuichiro Inoue, and Kevin A. Ormsby. Her work has been presented by New Blue Emerging Dance Festival and OPEN OPEN OPEN. and developed choreography in residence with Toronto Dance Theatre’s Emerging Voices Project. . As a deaf dancer Amelia is exploring unique sensory capabilities such as amplification and deprivation of the senses, cultivation of intimate or distant relationships with the audience, and challenging notions of the performative space. Research that stems from the statement "the body does not lie".

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