LEIMAY LUDUS Lab with Ben Spatz, Nazlıhan Eda Erçin, and Agnieszka Mendel

LEIMAY Former Fellow, Ben Spatz, and the Judaica Project team’s LUDUS Lab, Hitlahavut offers a dynamic approach to songwork that combines intensive physical and vocal training with playful interaction, discursive interventions, and multimedia documentation. Based on the interests of the participants we will combine physical and vocal technique, teaching jewish songs in a variety of languages, and work on harmonies and rhythms with analysis of critical and political issues related to identity and a comprehensive methodology for embodied research.

“Hitlahavut is ‘the burning’, the ardour of ecstasy. A fiery sword guards the way to the tree of life. It scatters into sparks before the touch of hitlahavut, whose light finger is more powerful than it. To hitlahavut the path is open, and all bounds sink before its boundless step. The world is no longer its place: it is the place of the world.” – Martin Buber

Date: October 11 and 12
Time: 10am – 2pm
Tuition: This Lab is offered for free. Registration below is still required.

Please Register on the Google Form Below


Ben Spatz is Senior Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Huddersfield; Arts & Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellow (2016-2018); and author of What a Body Can Do: Technique as Knowledge, Practice as Research (Routledge 2015). Since 2004, Ben has organized a range of workshops, laboratories, and performances under the name Urban Research Theater, which was launched as ‘Badawczy Teatr Miejski’ while Ben was a Fulbright Fellow at the Grotowski Institute. Ben convenes the Embodied Research Working Group within the International Federation for Theatre Research and edits the Journal of Embodied Research, a peer-reviewed video journal that launched in 2017 from Open Library of Humanities. Recent invited talks and workshops include ‘What is a song?’ (The British Library), ‘Beyond Performer Training’ (University of Kent), ‘An Epistemic Context for Martial Arts’ (University of Cardiff), ‘Decolonizing Song-Action: A Laboratory Report’ (Maynooth University), ‘Re-Reading Grotowski in the Anthropocene’ (University of the Arts Helsinki), and ‘Future Documents: Video Epistemology and Embodied Research’ (University of Manchester; University of Aberdeen).

The Judaica Project is an UK government funded project that proposes and tests a new method for embodied research. Drawing on laboratory theatre, performance studies, ethnomusicology, visual anthropology, critical jewish studies, and philosophy, it offers new ways of thinking about and working with embodiment, vocality, identity, cultural politics, and multimedia documentation in an experimental context. The project is designed around a new method for structuring and documenting experimental embodied practice. The core of the project is six months of full-time embodied research involving three skilled practitioners in a studio laboratory. During this time we are working with jewish songs from all over the world (in Hebrew, Yiddish, Turkish, Ladino, English, Luganda, and other languages), asking again and again the fundamental question: What is a song? In the last two months of the laboratory period, we are presenting our research in a range of venues across the United Kingdom, United States, and Poland. Above all the project is devoted to creating a new kind of video document that articulates the depth and complexity of embodied knowledge. For more information and multimedia documentation, please visit:  www.urbanresearchtheater.com

Nazlıhan Eda Erçin (Research Assistant) is a performer, researcher and educator, working at the intersection of practice as research, physical theatre, non-stylized somatic movement, gender and performance studies. She holds a BA degree in Sociology with a Minor in Political Science from Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey), an MA degree in Performance Studies from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (USA) as a Fulbright Alumni, and is currently a PhD candidate in Drama/Performance Practice at the University of Exeter (UK) funded by College of Humanities International Studentship. Prior to her PhD research, she worked with ODTU Oyuncuları / METU Players (Ankara), Ankara Sanat Tiyatrosu / Ankara Art Theatre (Ankara), Cornerstone Theater Company (LA) and Double Edge Theatre (Massachusetts) where she developed a growing interest in body-centered performance methodologies. In pursuit of this interest, she has trained with a wide range of practitioners including Rena Mirecka, Helen Poynor, Alison Hodge and Odin Teatret ensemble. She has recently taught Physical [Auto] Biographical Performance at the University of Exeter which corresponds to her current individual research on the female body, everyday performance and embodiment.

Agnieszka Mendel (Research Assistant) is a singer, actress, ethnologist, voice and theatre teacher. She is fascinated by the possibilities of the human voice and uses songs from many cultures to search for vocal techniques and emotionality. She has trained in Hindustani Vocal Music at Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra in New Delhi and at the Natural Voice Perfection Institute. For 15 years she was closely associated with the Gardzienice Centre for Theatre Practices in Poland where she played leading roles in the performances Metamorphosis, Elektra, Ifigenia in A…, Ifigenia in T…, and Pythian Oratorio, and conducted many workshop sessions for actors and singers from around the world. Poet and composer, co-author and performer of her own music and theater projects, she is the beneficiary of several artistic scholarships and awards for achievements in the arts and the protection and promotion of cultural goods.

LEIMAY LUDUS is an invitation to play in the world of LEIMAY. Through LEIMAY LUDUS Ximena, Shige and the LEIMAY Ensemble share and continue to articulate LEIMAY’s physical conditioning practices, visual art craft, aesthetics and philosophies while providing another point of access to their creations and process, and contributing to an understanding of the works distinctive to LEIMAY.

LEIMAY LUDUS offers different opportunities to work with artistic director Ximena Garnica, current ensemble dancers, and with an inspiring group of local and international guest and resident teachers working within the field of butoh, physical theater, performance art and experimental vocal practices.



LEIMAY LUDUS is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.