LEIMAY LUDUS: Swatch Lab with Ben Spatz + Ximena Garnica

We invite artists associated with LEIMAY Ensemble and with the International Interdisciplinary Artists Consortium to a day-long exchange focusing on open-ended, ‘blue skies’ embodied research and video epistemology. The Judaica project team will share some of the methodological innovations coming out of our laboratory, including dynamic configurations that formalize power relations in studio practice and new ways of integrating video as both process and product. We will offer a set of concrete tools for developing embodied research within and beyond academic institutions and in turn hope to receive new challenges and ideas from the participants.

Participants are invited to bring video cameras, books, and other objects to play with.

Participation in this LUDUS Lab is by invitation only. If are interested in this workshop, please contact admin@leimay.org with a detailed introduction and performance bio.

Date: Tuesday, October 10
Time: 9:30am – 3:30pm


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).

Ximena Garnica is a Colombian born interdisciplinary choreographer, director and artist based in New York. She received a B.A. in theater arts with a minor in multimedia studies from the City College of New York. In 2006 she graduated from Akira Kasai’s Tenshikan Dance Institute in Tokyo. Ximena is active as a curator and producer. She has been awarded with the 2010 Bessie Schonberg Individual Choreographers Residency at the Yard and has been recognized with the prestigious Van Lier Fellowship for young Hispanic directors in New York. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally in Japan, Spain, France, The Netherlands, Mexico and Colombia.  Currently she teaches at P.H.T.S, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Drama. Other teaching credits included master classes and lectures at Denison University, Skidmore College, DeSales University, Muhlenberg College and the Academia Superior de Artes de Bogota.  She lives in Brooklyn and leads ongoing training in dance and performance at CAVE.

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.