Rosalind Holgate Smith & Isabella Finch: Clear as Mud


Clear as Mud is a research project that responds to the environmental crisis and rapid technological advances of our times

Monday, June 27 11.30 – 13.00


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Clear as Mud is a research project that responds to the environmental crisis and rapid technological advances of our times. In this project we want to develop a generate embodied conversations about the effects of interacting with technology and the natural world. In this 2 .5 hour workshop we will introduce the somatic practice of Authentic Movement, which we will draw upon to guide some durational experiments involving time spent with organic matter such as soil, trees and water and alternatively with screen-technology such as phones and laptops. These experiments will offer time to rest, attune, move with, witness and reflect on our interactions with these organic and non-organic materials. The session will conclude with a group conversation to share how our bodies relate, perceive and understand the digital and organic realms differently.

Part of the session will be spent outdoors on the Estate grounds, perhaps in a field with trees or in the gardens, dependent on health and safety concerns and permissions. While part of the workshop will reside indoors, ideally in a dance studio like studio 6.

We are at the beginning of our research project Clear as Mud, and this workshop will kick start us in generating engagement, responses and dialogue from audiences with somatic expertise.


About the artists

Izabella Finch: a theatre maker, dancer and musician and Rosalind Holgate Smith: a dancer, choreographer and interdisciplinary artist. Clear as Mud builds on our previous collaboration in 2013 that investigated embodied relationships to soil and water. This research resulted in a performance called ‘Mud’, shown at Exeter Northcott Theatre alongside a series of educational workshops and resources for schools and an article published in Contact Quarterly. Since then, our individual somatic practices have deepened into the fields of Voice Movement Integration, Contact Improvisation in Water, continued somatic training and teaching, two MA’s, and a PhD. We have recently received some funding from the Dance Research Society to create a podcast publication and journal contribution on our Clear as Mud. Further, we await confirmation of a 3 week artist residency at Cove Park in Scotland in which we hope to have extended time for our practical and durational performance research and to develop further our questions concerning our sense of being in the world in relation to digital technologies and organic life.

Rosalind Holgate Smith (UK/DE) is Dance Artist and Choreographer currently based in Berlin. She creates performances, installations, visual art and poetry that explore intimate experiences between people, place and the environment. Through her engagement with Contact Improvisation and somatic practices including Body-Mind Centering®, she has developed a vocabulary for moving with others, in the environment, underwater and with raw materials, such as soil and trees. She has received site specific commissions in Wales, Australia, India and Berlin. She has also exhibited at Newlyn Gallery, GlogauAIR, Exeter Northcott Theatre and Acker Stadt Palast and performed for Artists including Emma Smith, Melanie Bonajo as well as Kate Lawrence Vertical Dance and Seven Sisters Company. Her training in Authentic Movement, Axis Syllabus and Skinner Release also informs her extensive teaching practice that has included work with dancers of diverse backgrounds, ages & abilities, at international festivals, at UK Universities and in her local communities. Rosalind completed a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at DeMontfort University. She holds a BA(hons) in Fine Art and Choreography from Dartington College of Arts and Falmouth University and an MA in Dance from Trinity Laban. She is currently a PhD student at Kingston University in London, with a scholarship from Techne, where she is investigating Touch as encounter with Otherness.

Izabella Finch is a multi-disciplinary theatre maker, singer and dancer currently based in London. Bringing together a natural flair for humor with her dedication to transformative learning and enquiry, Izabella’s style is both profound and witty. Physical, sensitive and movement oriented, her work is multi-faceted, ranging from immersive dance-theatre, stand-up comedy, song, collage and film. She has performed and collaborated extensively with Director Daniel Hernandez within the immersive theatre collective and mystery clown school, Divine Ridiculous, touring festivals such as The Vaults, Wilderness, Buddhafield and Colourfest; thoroughly influencing her artivist productions with Gastivists and Je Moeder in Holland. As an embodied stand-up comedienne, her one-woman show ‘The Pussy Tutorials’ toured Europe including Brighton Fringe, EYE-Museum, Utrecht School of Art, Artez University, Paradiso, FOAM photography Museum and a variety of comedy venues and festivals. During her two-year apprenticeship with 2022 Venice Biennale Dutch representative, Melanie Bonajo, she performed at TATE Modern, Incubate Festival, and various prestigious galleries across Holland. Building on her BA Choreography with Textual Practices from Dartington College of Arts and Falmouth University, Izabella took a mentorship with Rosalyn Maynard of the School of Embodied Learning in Devon for 2 years, and later trained in Voice Movement Integration Somatic Practice for 4 years with Patricia Bardi at the VMI Centre, Amsterdam. In a sabbatical year from MA Creative Education at Plymouth College of Arts, Izabella is devising a children’s Theatre in Education dance-theatre show and nature-connection workshops with Kay Michael of ‘Letters to the Earth’, generously supported by Stanley Arts.