Expressions of the body represent an ongoing focus in Oatley´s dance practice and writings, the latter in the form of essays, criticism and poetry published in a wide range of newspapers, periodicals and anthologies in Norway, USA and Great Britain. Recent projects take this focus into the theme of cultural hybridity, in explorations through poetry, dance and other visual media of boundaries and migrations between artistic genres, cultures and identities.
She began working in a cross-disciplinary fashion immediately subsequent to the completion of her studies – applying feminist literary theory on the body and writing to dance and the performing arts. She began writing texts, experimenting with voices and exploring the boundaries between literary and performance genres, sound vs. sense, body vs. mind, movement vs. language. In conjunction with this work Ms. Oatley developed a dance practice within the field of Oriental (Middle Eastern/North African) Dance, based on the need to ground dance and movement theory in practice in such a way as to allow practice to reveal unexpected theoretic openings and connections. This coupling has been of enormous significance to the ongoing development of her academic work.
Further, she has worked as a consultant on three performance arts productions, been a guest lecturer on a number of occasions at Oslo College, the University of Oslo, Black Box Theatre and the Oslo School of Contemporary Dance on the subject of Contemporary Dance and the body. She has taught and performed Oriental Dance for over six years. The latter practice included work with an amateur ensemble, “Awalim”, where the focus was on the interaction of Oriental dance traditions with more western-based movement practices. Ms Oatley trained the dancers herself over the course of a number of years creating all of her own material for performance works. She also performs Oriental Dance as a solo dancer. She has in sum worked for many years seeking to combine and “mix up” traditions, genres, cultures and discourses.
Current projects involve continued explorations and writings on the influences and practice of Oriental Dance in the west, studies in Flamenco, and poetic works on the nature of movement and the creative potential of dance as an art form – for the practitioner as well as the viewer.
Diane Oatley is originally from the United States, of Norwegian-American descent and a resident of Norway since 1982, at which time she attended the University of Oslo as part of her junior year abroad. She transferred from the University of Maine to the University of Oslo in 1983, and subsequently went on to complete a Masters Program in Comparative Literature (women writers within the Anglo-American and Scandinavian traditions), also at the University of Oslo. Since the completion of her studies in 1990 she has worked with literature, dance and the performing arts in a number of capacities, as a poet, freelance writer, lecturer, translator, dance critic/essayist, consultant for performing arts productions and performer/teacher of Oriental Dance.