Doctoral Students

Suzan Tunca
Started in , PhD degree awarded in

Research summary

Spiritual Corporeality: Towards Embodied Gnosis Through a Dancing Language

The artistic-epistemic aim of this investigation is to unveil new perspectives on relations between the sensible and the intuitively intelligible. It is my aim to weave ‘corporeal theory’ and ‘discursive practice’ together into a ‘dancing language’. This dancing language conducts movement and thought from a state of being suspended between the physically sensible and the intuitively intelligible towards a place where they come together. ‘Corporeal theory’ refers to embodied as well as verbal reflections on dance experience as seen from my perspective. The ‘discursive practice’ engages thought in dialogue with perspectives from physics and psychology on the one hand and metaphysics and revelation on the other.

The interaction between ‘corporeal theory’ and ‘discursive practice’ and its resulting ‘dancing language’ supports the main argument: that the dancing body can act as a creative interface between the physical and the metaphysical. The dancing body is attuned to become a vehicle for perception and cognition that investigates and communicates numinous dimensions of embodied experience.

The gap between a wordless corporeal and a verbal, interrogating discourse is bridged by three key concepts: ‘spiritual corporeality’, ‘altered states of knowing’ and ‘embodied gnosis’. Outcomes of this investigation are a dance and music performance that enacts radical openings towards the unknown; a research documentation based on the method of retrospective dance writing by annotating videos of the creative process; and a written dissertation. Together, they unfold meaning, uniting dichotomies between gravity and levity, between physis and psyche, between matter and spirit. The aim is to better understand the nature and potential meaning of deep incorporation of consciousness and its evolving expression.



Suzan Tunca (1975, DE) studied theatre dance at the Institute of the Arts, Arnhem (1994–97). Since 1998 she has worked as a dancer, choreographer and choreographic assistant in the Netherlands and internationally, among others with Krisztina de Châtel and Dylan Newcomb. Between 2005–2013 she danced with Emio Greco | PC. 2007. She was nominated for the “swan most impressive dance performance” in the Netherlands. In 2015 she completed the research MA artistic research at the University of Amsterdam with a video work and live performance at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam.

Suzan is currently responsible for the dance research activities at ICKamsterdam, the development and implementation of the artistic research curriculum for dancers at CODARTS, and member of DASresearch THIRD. Through her work as a dance researcher in professional and educational contexts and as a performing artist, she aims to contribute to the continuous regeneration and advancement of dance as an autonomous art form and as an invaluable source for embodied knowledge and understanding.


Individual projects

    • Becoming Entangled

      Suzan Tunca presents her PhD research in the lecture series 'Becoming Entangled. Practice in art and theory' at the Binational Artistic PhD Program,…

      HfK, Bremen (DE)
    • ARC session SEI & DUE

      SEI & DUE are two chapters of the ongoing collaboration between Suzan Tunca and Giuliano Bracci: dance and music navigate on the edge…

      Scheltema, Leiden (NL)
    • The Universal Body

      'The Universal Body' is an interactive dance installation presented in the Allard Pierson exhibition 'Goddesses of the Art Nouveau' by Matthias Oostrik and

      Allard Pierson, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Eurythmie Symposium

      Suzan Tunca participated in Eurythmie Festival, Vienna. Tunca moderated a symposium on the actuality of eurythmic art toether with literature studies scholar Petra…

      Maurer Schlössl, Vienna (AT)
    • MIMAGES eurythmy

      Suzan Tunca participated in a symposium on contemporary stage eurythmy during the MIMAGES eurythmy Festival.

      Vreedehuis, The Hague (NL)
    • Spiritual Corporeality

      Suzan Tunca gives a practice workshop entitled 'Spiritual Corporeality: Towards a dance language mediating between spirit, matter and levels of reality' at the…

      The Centre for Embodiment & Somatic Movement Education and Therapy, Cheltenham (UK)
    • Tuning the Dancing Body

      Suzan Tunca presents her research 'tuning the dancing body to become a performative research instrument to investigate embodied gnosis' together with Giuliano Bracci…

      WEST Den Haag, the Royal Academy of Art, the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague (NL)
    • Sei

      Suzan performs the solo dance performance SEI set to a solo violin composition by Johan Sebastian Bach remixed live by Giuliano Bracci at the PhDArts…

      Leiden University, Leiden (NL)
    • Double Skin/Double Mind Installation

      Suzan Tunca organises and participates in a research week centered around the Double Skin/Double Mind installation at ID-Lab in Amsterdam.

      ID-Lab, Amsterdam University of the Arts, Amsterdam(NL)
    • Religionism and Historicism

      As part of the miniconference ‘Religionism and Historicism’ of the Master Program Study of Religion: Western Esotericism, Suzan Tunca gives the lecture ‘Physica…

      University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam (NL)