Suriashi as Experimental Pilgrimage in Urban and Other Spaces

  • Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Keywords: Suriashi, Slow Walking, Gendered Walking, Japanese dance, Nihon Buyō, Postmodern dance, Japanese theatre, Nō theatre, Practice-led research, Artistic research, Intercultural dance, pilgrimage, critical heritage, screen dance This practice-led-thesis draws on an existing Japanese movement practice called suriashi, which translates as sliding foot. Suriashi is a specific gender codified walking technique in classical Japanese dance and theatre, and an important method for acting on stage. It is one of the foundations for how the performer positions him/herself for movement on stage. My thesis asks whether suriashi could also be a method to act, as being active, or to activate, in other spaces outside the theatre. A key feature is the practical application of this artistic practice outside the theatrical contexts where it is usually located. This relocation brings a traditional form into new configurations, connecting to everyday practices and sites of resistance and performance. It also contributes to the burgeoning field of walking arts practice, bringing a Japanese dance-based practice into a dialogue with debates and practices of Western dancing and walking.
    The practice-led research includes suriashi walks, labelled as ‘experimental pilgrimages’, which are documented especially for the thesis. They have been captured on video and serve as material evidence of what kind of questions and answers suriashi as experimental pilgrimage activated. The video documentations, to which readers are guided to through specific links and timecodes, provide the possibility to experience suriashi walking both visually and corporeally. They also represent the artistic artefact and outcome of this practice-led research. The video capturing suriashi adds to an expanded perspective on screen dance as durational artistic practice.
    The thesis shows how suriashi embodies ideologies, such as gender, as well as discussing how our presence in urban spaces is always gendered. Suriashi as a gendered technique provided a tool for walking with integrity - a flâneuse strategy - which led to the application of suriashi for political engagement through embodiment.
    Date of Award8 Mar 2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorNicola Conibere (Director of Studies) & Stacey Prickett (Co-Supervisor)


    • Nihon Buyō
    • Intercultural dance
    • Postmodern dance
    • Japanese theatre
    • Artistic research
    • Nō theatre
    • Practice-led research

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