Somatic costumes™: Traversing multi-sensorial landscapes | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2044-3714
  • E-ISSN: 2044-3722



This article introduces Sally E. Dean’s ‘Somatic Movement & Costume Project’ by presenting examples of the ‘somatic costumes’ created and the costume design, choreographic and pedagogic methodologies applied. ‘Somatic costumes’ aim to facilitate multi-sensorial experiences that change our relationships to ourselves, others and the environment. Although costume has been incorporated in performance for centuries, this project argues for a critical social–cultural paradigm shift: the aesthetic and movement of the performance work comes from the somatic experiences (kinaesthetic and sensorial) of the costume, rather than the costumes being designed to enhance an aesthetic already established in advance. This is also inherent in the costume design process itself: we start with what somatic experiences we would like to enhance or generate as opposed to the visual aesthetic. This approach has the potential to not only instigate new ways of moving, being, perceiving, creating, teaching and performing, but to also foster social–cultural understanding. This project aims to create bridges between somatic practices, costume design, culture and performance.


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