Research articles

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

Re-aligning dance research for the 21st century

Professor Janet Lansdale (Department of Dance Studies, University of Surrey U.K.) addresses how dance research might be re-aligned to ensure its sustainability in the immediate future. She raises some crucial questions that need to be addressed in developing a model of sustainability for dance research.

From gumboots and Greek letters

It has been argued that African and African American contributions to the arts in the US have been so well ignored their African roots have been invisibilised. Growing out of African American fraternities, stepping seems to be facing a similar fate as its popularity increases. This paper is designed to raise awareness not only of stepping as an innovative dance form that is growing tremendously, but more importantly, to highlight its African American heritage that may be disregarded as stepping moves to the global stage. This paper will also illustrate how dancers inside and outside of black Greek organisations can combat the invisibilisation of stepping’s cultural heritage by teaching others about the legacy of stepping while sharing with them the innate excitement of the dance form.

Contemporary dance and community practices

This paper focuses on several issues in North American community dance; primarily its role in university education, and the influence of community dance on the art form of contemporary dance itself. Written from the personal perspective of a graduate student and community practitioner, the paper seeks to examine ways in which community arts methodologies are contributing to the evolution of innovative and trans-disciplinary curricula, while also touching upon some of the philosophical and aesthetic divisions that persist between professional concert dance and the community dance worlds.

The paper was originally presented on 15 July 2008, in conjunction with my colleagues Mary Fitzgerald and Satu Hummasti, as part of a panel discussion at the World Dance Alliance Global Summit, entitled Issues in Community Dance. Our panel sought to present a historical context of American contemporary dance and community practices, while also investigating certain aesthetic and educational values of the art form and its practice within this context. Within this frame, I chose to present a personal account of my experiences as a student, facilitator and community dance practitioner.

Connective tissue: the flesh of the network

This is a transcript of the keynote address given by Dr Susan Kozel (Associate Professor, Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, Canada). She talks about connective tissue—in both the concrete and the metaphoric sense—as a way of understanding human networks, technological networks and social networks. She supports the expansion of dance research into other fields of knowledge to include design, new technologies, new philosophies and more.

Success in salsa: students’ evaluation of the use of self-reflection when learning to dance

Both Stephanie J. Hanrahan (Schools of Human Movement Studies and Psychology, University of Queensland) and Rachel A. Mathews (Creative Industries Faculty—Dance, Queensland University of Technology) have seen that both teachers and students can become frustrated when the rate of skills improvement is not satisfying. They had a group of salsa students engage in structured self-reflection and then evaluated the process and outcomes.

A quantitative approach to analysing reliability of engagement responses to dance

The present paper applies a new analytic method to facilitate a more objective approach to identifying periods of significant responses to dance assessment tasks (aesthetic, adjudication, etc). The ultimate aim is to allow dance researchers to collect continuous response data and to input a choreographic event list in a time line format. These data will be used to identify key moments, and thus new insights into the aesthetic and other time dependent responses to dance, and to cognitive and choreographic aspects of dance construction and performance, in a quasi-scientific way.

The risks we take—a model for risk stratification and recognition of competency in dance

Lesley Graham (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane) seeks to apply the findings of the Sport and Recreation Training Australia Draft Position Paper for the Australian Fitness Industry and the National Fitness Professional/Trainer Registration model, to the dance industry. The implications and appropriateness of these models are discussed with reference to a process of risk stratification in dance teaching.

Towards an understanding of liminal imagery in the digital domain

Many digital choreographers favour liminal imagery that aims to convey kinaesthetic sensation. I suggest here that this is not by chance. In the mid-nineties neuroscientists identified a collection of neurons named ‘mirror’ neurons. They discovered that the same neurons are activated when we watch and when we engage in an action. They suggest that it is through the ‘resonance behaviour’ of these neurons that we become attuned to the significances embodied in others’ actions and attain kinaesthetic empathy. In this paper I suggest that it is through such ‘resonance behaviour’ that the sensuous effects of liminal digital imagery might be generated.

Gendering discourses in modern dance research

Dr Sally Gardner (Deakin University Melbourne) considers some problems of conceptualisation in modern dance studies. She questions the assumptions made about the terms 'dancer' and 'choreographer' and the relationships between them, and wonders how this pair of terms work to structure what gets written or said in contemporary modem dance scholarship.

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