DJALMA is a Javanese word for metamorphosis. Applied to the transmigration of souls, it signifies transformation towards the human. When applied to chemical processes, it means fermentation. A crossing of metaphysical and mundane meaning.


DJALMA Primordial Science was founded in 1998 by the dancer Ephia and the experimental musician Jeff Gburek. Through this partnership of listening emerged a physical practice focused on the instability of the body and its relationship to the environment. The collaboration spans ten years of performance and pedagogical experience throughout the United States and Europe. Accent is placed on receiving (from the environment, an object, a material) rather than producing action. The performances of Djalma Primordial Science-- appearing in theaters, galleries, music venues, derelict buildings, gaping holes in the earth--draw on the particulars of landscape and architecture in order to dismantle the illusory space of "theater" and arrive at an unstable predicament, a vulnerable posture, an intensely felt experience. Rejecting the notion of “performance” in favor of “encounter,”  DJALMA attempts the unmasking of actor and audience alike. Pushing the limits of consciousness and physicality, DJALMA invokes a precarious position, an awkwardly silent situation. 


DJALMA: Our research is a discipline of madness for human evolution, permitting one to climb over the walls that society has constructed around the body.---Ephia

In their practice the body (extended) becomes ear.  And sounds evoke states of physical transformation (decay, agitation, coagulation, immersion). The dancer’s bones reluctantly wring themselves out leaving a trail of moisture on the brow, her limbs become delicate tissue paper catching fire, her form evaporates and condenses again. Like the origin of all sound in movement: the dance is not only seen but felt, transmitted directly from the body of the mover into the body of the viewer in this last and first frontier of connective tissue.


DJALMA: Here the human rediscovers relation to her material cousins: saw dust, smoke, rusting metal, sweating stone. A dance which penetrates the very physicality of emotion, moving beyond expression into metamorphosis.




Since 2006, Ephia continues the DJALMA research with a home base in France, welcoming new artistic exchanges between improvisational musicians, visual artists, dancers.  She leads regular workshops centered on various themes: of the secret life of matter (the relations of body and object), body mapping (creating an anatomy of sensation), the corporeal landscape (exploring internal and external environments). In 2011, an ongoing research group takes form: LES CHERCHEURS DE DJALMA.  This group of ten dancers meets regularly to distort the frontiers between individual and group, body and object, dream and daily reality.