‘In 40 years of doing this, I’ve never done it,’ says Deborah Hay in Becky Edmund’s 2014 film Turn Your Fucking Head. I watched it earlier this year at JW3 in London and the absurdity of this quote made me laugh out loud.  For the (relatively little) I know of her work and (comparatively large) respect I have for it, this quote sums up the indefinable nature of experimental contemporary dance.  In Hay’s case, a specific dance practice which has evolved over four decades, and has led her to consider the body and choreography very differently.

After seeing the film, I was both fascinated and perplexed by her work, especially by this idea of her confident not-knowing. This book, Using The Sky, develops her research – a quest which shows both an unfaltering belief in her pursuit, and an honesty and openness to uncertainty. It is also wickedly funny. (more…)