Cataplexy & Choreography

Researching Health & Dance

Call Out!

Are you a choreographer or professional dancer with Cataplexy who lives in Australia or New Zealand?

Are you interested in potential creative projects exploring dance and cataplexy?

If you’re a choreographer or professional dancer with Narcolepsy and live elsewhere, Laura would love to hear from you too!

Please email her.

Contact Laura to discuss supporting this research & dance development.

Critical Path Dance Research Residency 2022

Choreographer, performer, scholar, teacher and producer Dr Laura (Amara) Osweiler’s research is based upon sharing and expanding her current practice beyond herself. Her project builds upon her 30 years as a Traditional and Contemporary Middle Eastern Dancer and current choreographic and performance practice that interweaves dance, movement, film, music, audio description and health and employs communication technologies to support access and engage with audiences in different locations.

During her 2022 Critical Path Research Residency, Laura will spend time exploring cataplexy, a part of narcolepsy where muscles release and the mind and body are on different parts of the spectrum of awake and asleep. She will share her dance and story by including outside voices into her processes as sounding boards, foster engagement with digital dance and the disability sector and develop community around shared interests of daily dance.

Working with producer and director Paul Osborne and international circus and physical theatre performer and audio describer Sarah Houbolt, Laura has been unpacking the physical experiences of her phases of Cataplexy. This led to exploring themes of isolation, interruption and disruption, Crip Time and Space, body knowledge, types of memory, forms of consciousness and perceptions of the self.

Through movement, lighting, dance bungee rigging, music, audio description, autobiographical narrative and audience interaction, Laura will dance and tell her story.

Audience Sharing Comments

Laura showed us that Narcolepsy fight is far from over as well as the fact that Narcolepsy can be fought with. She used a very new form of visual description and dance therapy styles like hand movements, ropes from ceiling and explaining sensations that Narcoleptics face. Words such as expanding and contracting, “sparkly” gave a more positive connotation to this difficult disability. Laura used expressive therapy and provided some education and as well as what is happening on a global basis. Her efforts to provide a dance module and interventions for Narcoleptics will raise more awareness on the adversities that Narcoleptics face on a daily basis as well as globally.

– Niloufar Heshmati Manesh
Researcher in Dance and Narcolepsy

Laura is such a unique artist and her area of cataplexy body movements and education components need to be shared with the dance sector and arts & science sector on a state, national and international level.

– Anonymous Attendee

Laura was very generous with her time and welcomed an open dialogue regarding her practice. It was a real privilege to see Laura perform, and I appreciated that time was made to create a safe and respectful environment for the performance to take place.

– Marsha Canning | Museum and Gallery Officer | Hurstville Museum & Gallery

I just couldn’t help but feel there’d be amazing broader applications of taking it to people outside the disability community so they can really get a sense of what it’s like. And even as a person within the disability community, I certainly appreciate trying to understand other kinds of experiences of other people with disability. So I’ve got goosebumps. It was really well done.

Casey Hagan | Independent Artist

I enjoyed Laura using the equipment and watching her fight the cataplexy and then also her beautiful smooth body movements and then pulsating body movements.

– Anonymous Attendee

I liked the way Laura guided us through what felt like a meditative state that focussed on any body part and how I could fully invested my mind, energy and time into that body part, asking it what it felt like, hot, warm or cold, firm, bouncy or soft, stretching it or confining it. I actually enjoyed it.

– Anonymous Attendee

Dance Research Residency Sharing

31 Aug 2022

This sharing was an opportunity for Laura to test and present many of the experimentations, ideas and concepts she’s been researching this year. It captures the very early stages of a work in process.

The video below is closed captioned. Laura is currently working on audio description and will have that video up shortly. If you’d like to be notified when the video is posted, please email her.

Time Code

00: Acknowledgement of Country
1.25: Audio description of space & Laura
2.00: Thank you to Critical Path Team & collaborators (Paul Osborne, Sarah Houbolt & Tobii Bucknell
3.00: Intro to sharing
3.50: Intro to visual description exercise
4.30: Internal visual description exercise with audience
9.20: External visual description exercise with audience
15.20: Awake Dance | Upbeat & Energised
17.00: Awake Dance | Strength
18.30: Cataplectic Knee Release & Middle Eastern Dance Knee Shimmies Connection
20.30: Audience Chooses my Adventure | Should I show how I fight or accept catapeltic episodes? They choose fight.
21.10: Ankle Harness Walk | My List of Triggers
23.30: Ankles in Dance Bungee Harness | Facts About Narcolepsy
32.50: Story About Walking in Public with a Mild Catapeltic Episode
35.20: Harness & the Box | If the World Took Siestas
37.45: Harness| Slow Weighted
30.30: Harness | Twinkle Toes
41.20: Harness | Large Circles
43.50: Harness | Small and Low
45.15: Harness | Held & Slides
48.30: Nirvana Moment in Deep Catapeltic Episode
56.50: Arms in Harness | Swing & Slide
58.50: Arms in Harness | Accents and Releases
1.01: Discussion with Audiences

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