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Am I a waste of space?


Resolution 2017 | The Place | 21 February 2017



Lucy Hansom



When I am laid in earth, Dido & Aeneas, Act 3 - Purcell

Black Lake - Björk

The Heart of You - Anna Calvi

John Livingston is a fascinating performer for he brings to his dancing a vocabulary of disability that is both eloquent and powerful. With a provocative and savagely self-deprecatory title, Am I a waste of space?, Livingston challenges what we see by what he does, quoting Henry David Thoreau in the program notes, ‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.’ There are three emotionally laden tracks — 'When I am laid in earth', from Henry Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Bjork’s 'Black Lake', and Anna Calvi’s 'The Heart of You' — to which Livingston improvises with a range of images from refined, heroic sweeps of the arms to raw, idiosyncratic gestures like tucking his chin into his tee-shirt while putting it back on, gestures that both uncover the process of his thinking and enhance its physical execution. His gestural vocabulary repeats enough for us to recognize his language, his tropes, rather than follow a choreographic path but what we see is a concentration on unearthing his own physical meaning from the music. Mesmerizing.

~Nicholas Minns,


Raw and deeply intimate, it feels almost voyeuristic to watch him - like we're peering through a crack in the studio door, watching someone privately struggle with very intense emotions. ... The motifs are pure, born of improvised choreographic exploration, and his technique ... is strong.

~Samantha Whitaker,


This brave and exposing performance is created with improvised movement to pursue a validation of life.  He explores different facets of his identity with impulses that are driven from a raw and emotive place.

~Maria Hardcastle, Resolution


Livingston's presence is commanding and moving...

~Josephine Leask, Resolution


Livingston explores his own boundaries in movement and in life...

~Jessica Poulter, 



Watch in fullscreen on YouTube

Studio research


See more improvised pieces, recorded informally in the studio, here.

John Livingston Dance