The body knows things we don't yet know. But we must not speak too soon. That's why we begin with silence to grasp better what we should say afterwards. It's essential to recover that silence which gives rise to speech.

(Lecoq, in Roy and Carasso 1999)

The body 'knowing before we know' is one of those logical paradoxes that Lecoq clearly enjoyed. There are others to be found in The Moving Body, but this comment in particular seems to provide an elegant summation of so much of what his teaching embodied and stood for. Given that he must have spoken these words shortly before his death in 1999, they could also offer a fair epitaph for his working life. The words are interesting, not simply because they neatly represent the kernel of Lecoq's philosophy, but also - for someone with little knowledge of how he taught - they might seem to signify that kind of semi-mystical conundrum so beloved by rather fey, other-worldly gurus and soothsayers. Lecoq was neither fey nor prone to soothsaying, but within his thinking and daily practice there were certainly paradoxes, creative tensions and - some would argue - contradictions (Figure 5.1). He was aware of many of these 'creative tensions': they are not hidden deep in the texts of his work only to be revealed b some awkward critic or academic probing for discrepancies in his thinking. Indeed, in much of his writing, these paradoxes are presented


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Jacques Lecoq


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