RECESS (research-in-action) by Michael Helland

RECESS photo by Michael Helland

Initiated in 2015, RECESS is an evolving form of research-in-action that stands for many things…

As an event, ‘recess’ is a period of playtime, or a period for contemplation – a temporary suspension of regular daily activities.

As an installation, ‘recess’ refers to a small hidden space apart from the rest – a place to get lost and eventually become found.

As an action, ‘recess’ is an act of contraction – a counterpoint to notions of permanent growth, presenting opportunities for sustained renewal.

But above all, RECESS is the ‘Ritual Experience Concept Event Spa Show’ – a site-sensitive installation, situation for performance, and immersive workshop series that aims to re-enchant the senses and inspire ecological awareness through holistic gatherings.

RECESS is an ongoing form of research-in-action by Michael Helland. Previous phases of research have resulted in RECESS: Dance of Light (2016) – a one-hour solo theatrical intervention in New York, and RECESS: ZSenne Salon (2017) – a two-week immersive exhibition in Brussels.  RECESS: Becoming Crystalline (2018) was part of the immersive Welt ohne Außen exhibition at Gropius Bau in Berlin.


RECESS: Circle Dance @ Workspacebrussels
Wednesday evenings: September 25, October 23, November 27, December 18, 2019

RECESS: Circle Dance reclaims the ancient practice of sacred circle dancing as an active meditation fostering social connectivity.  After a brief introduction into the tenets of sacred geometry we prepare the body by moving through notions of circularity from a variety of angles, following inspirations from Kundalini yoga, Tai Chi, Ballet, contemporary performance, and beyond.  We travel across millennia and continental divides to discover the dance we need to have here and now.  Participants should come with an open mind and comfortable clothing – no previous dance experience is required.

RECESS: RSVP one-on-one with Michael Helland (ongoing)

RECESS: RSVP is a hands-on intuitive treatment aiming to re-enchant the senses and activate the kaleidoscope of light flowing through our rainbow bodies.  Informed by more than a decade working in contemporary dance and somatic practice, this unique ritual-based body-work session is hosted one-on-one in an intimate sacred space.  Located in the Anneessens neighborhood of Brussels Center, your sensual sanctuary awaits! Contact Michael for more information and to make your own RECESS: RSVP.


RECESS was awarded a research grant from the Flemish Authorities of Belgium (2017) and has received creative residencies from PARTS Summer Studios (2015 & 2018), the Villa Empain (2016 & 2017), wpZimmer (2016), ZSenne art lab (2017), and Workspacebrussels (2019).  Excerpts from RECESS: Dance of Light were performed in Movement Research at Judson Church (2016).  RECESS was catalyzed in part by an invitation from Eleanor Bauer for a special episode of Bauer Hour at Kaaistudios (2015).

Special thanks, for your creative engagement and continued artistic support, to Kennis Hawkins, Manon Santkin, Anne Pajunen, Elisa Yvelin, Hugo Mega, Jackie Elder, Meri Pajunpää, Nelle Hens, Colin Wolf, Thomas Proksch, and Isabel Lewis.