Dance Practice

My life begins in the studio. Lying down in constructive rest, I take ten minutes to meditate, breathing freely, directing my attention inward. I let the crowd of thoughts steam away, bubbling up to my scalp and floating out to the air. When the time comes to move, I take my time: small forward pelvic shift to isolate my psoas muscles, gentle knee drops to open my lower back, heel rocks to lubricate my joints. My work progresses to abdominal exercises, full-body spirals, and body-half level changes. Now, the real job begins: I dance. Lying on the floor, I tune my attention to small sensations, flexing a thumb, tickling my lips with breath, spreading out my metatarsals. I move up to standing, still careful, slowing my sweeping arm as I balance on one leg, tipping my pelvis as I stretch my neck, drifting quietly to the floor again.

 Malcolm Shute in Looking Over My Shoulder, Liberty Lands, 2008

Now, I accelerate. I sweep from one side of the studio to the other. I roll forward onto floor, bouncing upward, tossing my hair to the ceiling. I sustain into a coil, then spring into a leap, turn into a roll, condense into a ball…spring away again. My practice incorporates elements of Authentic Movement. I tune into my sensations in order to swing open the door to my emotions. Whatever combination of love, hate, pleasure, pain I happen to be feeling pours into the dance. The movement becomes a tuning fork for my emotional experience: I resonate with the feelings that lie otherwise hidden inside.

Choreographing for a group is an extension of my dance practice. Working with the other performers in Human Landscape Dance, I allow intuition to foster movement. We use improvisation to develop choreography from a loose structure and imagery. Common themes emerge:  my family and I are recurring characters; environments, hard walls, soft water, heavy earth, affect our movement; touch inevitably appears--expressing the relationships at the core of our dances.

 April Betty, Jennifer Rivers, and Alexander Short in Leaving Home, Liberty Lands

We will bring our compelling dances to Philadelphia's Painted Bride on Saturday May 29 at 7:30pm and Sunday May 30 at 3pm. The Philadelphia/Washington DC Exchange is a shared concert with Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Company. Philadelphia icon Anne-Marie Mulgrew will premiere "Burn" and restage "The Big Dance." We will premiere "January Night" and "Closet Dances."

Human Landscape Dance is a contemporary dance company based in Washington DC. Our work explores original movement in the context of human situations. We show the transformation of relationships over time through the medium of touch. Founded in 2006, Human Landscape Dance has since performed in cities along the east coast of the US and in London UK. We perform in theaters and in public spaces, such as parks, galleries, stairwells, and fountains.

Malcolm Shute
Artistic Director


Blog entries about Philadelphia performances:
Clark Park
Liberty Lands

Photo Gallery

January Night--world premiere May 29, 2010

Closet Dances--Philadelphia premiere May 29, 2010