To Be Re-Bitten and to Re-Become: examining repeated embodied acts in ritual performance
Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
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Reason for embargo
This article will examine the use of repetition through two ritual performance contexts: the rimorso repetition of the ritual of tarantism in Salento, Southern Italy, and the deity yoga practice incorporating mudras, mantras and mandalas found in the Vajrayana tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The two contexts will offer differing approaches to the practice and experience of repetition, whilst also demonstrating how repeating a movement, sound and image can be used to develop a greater bodymind connection that reinforces a sense of identity, belonging and devotion through the act of repeating. The use of repetition in these two ritual performance contexts will be explored through aspects of Buddhist philosophy, in particular how that repetition can create an altering effect on the ‘self’ of the practitioner through an understanding of the ways in which that ‘self’ is constructed. This will involve examining notions such as anatta (non-self) and the skhandas to show how the practice of repetition is a means to create a transformation of the ‘self’ through the action of repeating. This offers the potential for applying this understanding to actors, both at a somatic level of personal development, and also as a means for ‘be-coming’ a character through repeated actions that can alter the bodymind to align to that of the character. This all examines a paradox inherent in repetition in ritual performance: that it is through the action of repeating the same thing that leads to a process of transformation in the bodymind.
Image courtesy of Wellcome Trust: http://catalogue.wellcomelibrary.org/record=b1465534
Vol. 20 (5), pp. 12-21