Research articles

Research papers from our conferences and journals provide an in-depth look at dance topics. Many are peer reviewed.

Booting the tutu: teachers and dance in the classroom

Ralph Buck (National Institute for Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland) focuses on how we might develop sustainable dance education practice in the primary school classroom. He emphasises the importance of changing perceptions about dance in terms of the associations with femininity, ability, performance, mastery of skill and elitism.

Fusion of Australian contemporary dance and Mobius Kiryuho

This paper discusses the exploration of cultural diversity and the creation of common ground and understanding through choreographic practice in a cross-cultural, international collaboration between Mirramu Dance Company (Australia) and Kyoko Sato from the Mobius Kiryuho Institute (Japan). The paper explores the differences and the similarities discovered in each of our culturally specific movement practices, during the creative process of a dance production, Silk, and discusses how these discoveries influenced the choreographic content of the performance.

Accented Body

Arguably the largest and most complex independent project of this nature staged in Australia, Dr Cheryl Stock's accented body was a project of small break-through discoveries and ongoing creative partnerships.

Undisciplined subjects, unregulated practices: dancing in the academy

This is a working paper in process. It is concerned with the changing status of disciplinary knowledges, in dance and performance, in Australian universities. Although I have been working as an academic within the fields of dance and performance studies for some twenty years, it is only relatively recently that I have begun to reflect critically upon the disciplinary identity of dance studies and dance research, and with some more concrete sense of how these endeavours might be engaged differently.

Movement as metaphor: the construction of meaning in the choreographic art

The manipulation of elements in time for the purpose of creating works of art is common to practitioners in both music and dance. This paper discusses the creation of a contemporary dance work and the ways in which the abstraction of images in modes other than verbal language can present challenges for audiences. In music these issues are not usually clouded by notions of representation as they are in dance. The author discusses the manipulation of abstract qualities in music and dance, presents images on screen and asks “What can dances communicate”. Several important themes arise from the documentation in video and daily journals of a three-year research project funded by the Australian Research Council. The most encompassing of these are the ever-changing dynamic relationships that exist between the choreographer, the dancers, and the ideas and actions which are generated by their interchange. Communication in this context occurs in many modes and is central to the creation of the original work discussed in this case study.

Choreographic treatment of personal movement vocabulary in community dance practice

The field of community dance literature is an emergent one, with very little written about the processes and ethical issues experienced in the dance class, workshops or stage. This paper explores problems identified during the development of a new community contemporary dance work, My Body is an Etching. The work began with a creative concept, endeavouring to collaborate with participants in the creation of a dance solo that was personal and discretely individual in the performance of everyday actions, yet accessible to people from all walks of life. The processes involved the identification of deeply etched or embodied actions and the development of these actions within a choreographed score.

This paper discusses the creative exploration of the concept (that human bodies are etched by their experiences), within the context of community dance and the issues that arise when working with such a concept amongst a community of individuals. It reveals the creative methods for the identification and retrieval of individual movement and the conceptual difficulties encountered when individual uniqueness is absorbed within a work for the masses. It asks what happens when a participant’s everyday or personal movement is reproduced for reasons outside its regular context and examines notions of ownership and the negotiation of power and control. The paper reveals ethical issues in the treatment of others’ movement, and refers to the literature of psychology and phenomenology in aligning the creative enquiry with an intellectual force that is interested in forms of memory and retrieval beyond the episodic.

Teaching and learning dance in a culturally inclusive classroom

Dance is the fastest growing curriculum subject in New Zealand secondary schools. While this is to be celebrated, responding to the diverse needs and interests of students in the classroom is a constant challenge for teachers. In the light of current educational research concerned with student diversity and cultural identity, this paper discusses strategies implemented by one particular teacher to enhance student participation and engagement in her dance class. The focus is on a professional development process and the changes the teacher made in her practice to develop a culturally responsive teaching and learning environment for her students.

The integration of somatics as an essential component of aesthetic dance education

This study looks at how incorporating a somatic approach into dance training can provide an aesthetic experience that engages the whole person and establishes the concepts of feeling and artistry as integrated components of dance education. The research advocates for somatic education to be a feature of dance pedagogy by assisting dancers to differentiate between the tone and texture of feelings on a phenomenological level.

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