Research papers from our conferences and journals provide an in-depth look at dance topics. Many are peer reviewed.
Vanessa Mafe-Keane (Queensland University of Technology Brisbane) examines the way metaphors establish a link between reason and imagination between one set of embodied knowledge and another, and how metaphors can help sustain creative practice.
Folk dance is the expression of culture so it changes as culture changes over time and from place to place. Maypole dancing, I discovered, was once our only folk dance but it went out with the empire. Bush dancing arose simultaneously with the political policy we call ‘multiculturalism’ and parallel with the republican debate rejoiced in being ‘not English’. Australians may be surprised to realise just how demure our country dance is and how clearly urbanisation is expressed. Egalitarianism, gender equity, individualism and other Australian values are clearly revealed in bush dance.
This paper discusses the findings from two research periods at the National Art Library of the Victoria & Albert Museum, and generates scholarly propositions for relationships between the body and the book: the movement of the eye, the spacing of thought, temporality and duration, and the choreography of the page. The ideas are predicated on the artists’ books viewed and engaged with during the residencies and are subjective responses to the tactile, experiential presence of the books combined with relevant theoretical and philosophical texts and concepts. How might a book dance? Is there evidence of the body and its actions, recordings of its choreography in space and on the page, traces of its ability to move and be moved, and ways of capturing its performance in the pages of a book?
This paper reports on a series of experiments that measured the continuous, real time responses of a group of dance students to a range of different dances. Our findings invite a critical consideration of whether notions of ‘surface’ and ‘deep’ structure might be more deeply embedded in the students’ responses to dance than intertextual or poststructuralist dance analysis might predict. This paper will examine the implications of this idea for how dance students might learn to watch, interpret, and therefore to create dance, and how these implications might impact on approaches to choreographic training.
Dr Garry Lester pays tribute to New Zealand choreographer, dancer and film-maker, Douglas Wright, who has been deeply infuenced by the landscape, geography and culture of the small island nation where he was born and raised.
This paper discusses perspectives on performance-installations where the dancer’s body is perceived as the intermediary in the relationship with visual and sonic media. Viewpoints of artists working in the area of dance/performance, digital screen media and interactive communication devices are presented together with perspectives drawn from the authors’ own work, Living Lens. The current phase of our project, which incorporates performer gesture, ultrasonic speakers and live vocalisations towards a different kind of ‘speaking body’ and polyphonic chorale, will also be briefly presented.
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.
Donna H. Krasnow, M.S.(York University Toronto, Canada) addresses a variety of issues that might currently be preventing a link between dance science research and dance practice. She hopes to create a language of communication between these two worlds, to enhance the viability of the research, and the sustainability of the practitioner.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rachel Fensham (Monash University and University of Surrey, UK) lists the Australian theses on dance as at July 2004.
Dancer, dance educator, dance maker, dance critic, Hilary Crampton (University of Melbourne) presents her views about the current state of play within the Australian dance sector. She highlights three aspects of the sector: the education and training system; the structure of what the politicians like to refer to as ‘the arts industry' and the policy system that regulates art form practice through artists' reliance on its beneficence.
Christine Babinskas (PhD Candidate Victoria University) has been developing a movement practice that draws on various dance techniques, movement work within a drama context, improvisation, and often involving artists from other disciplines. Her movement has shifted from the strictly codified aesthetic of classical ballet, to something more indeterminate, open and unique.
Linda Ashley (AUT University, Auckland) presents findings from an action research project focusing on a series of creative dance workshops. This paper includes a philosophical examination of cognition during the choreographic process in terms of educational value, and also how the process of choreography itself, is research.