This article investigates the relationship between movement, communication, and medical presentation in three contemporary dance performances. In particular, I wish to present three instances of collaborative work: of work where boundaries between specialists and “lay people,” between different kinds of expertise, and different kinds of knowledges become questioned, dismantled, and (re)erected through performance. My argument hinges on the ongoing creative work involved in the translations between embodiment, phenomenological experience, narratives of self, medical stories, and cultural context. Living as a body in the world means a constant readjustment of these frames, a productive and often painful emergence of life through tensions. What it means to be a (gendered) specialist or a lay person, a patient, or a spectator, emerges in the call-and-response of everyday life, as roles are taken on, re-created, changed, and discarded.
A celebrated U.K. dance performance (winner of the Critic's Circle National Dance Award 2004), a U.K. exploratory sci-art experiment by medical experts, writers, and performers, and an Australian music theater piece are at the heart of this analysis: the article explores alignments between semiotic and phenomenological knowledges in these performances. In all of these performances, women are center stage, sometimes as informers, sometimes as playwrights and visual artists, sometimes as main performers.