If life is what happens to our plans, then dance is what happens to our steps.
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Thursday, 14 January 2010

Thinking about Dance Literature

Paula asked me to think about literature to do with dance. It is such a wide subject and there are so many perspectives. I am currently writing a chapter for my research - the Literature Review. I start by locating my position (perspective) with in the mind / body paradigm through looking at the different thoughts on and values for the body. I think finding a location within the mind/body paradigm is a good starting point for exploring dance through reading texts. Anna Pakes wrote a paper 'Dances mind/body problem' in Dance Research Journal. Volume 24.2 winter 2006. This article started me off on an interesting journey of asking myself what dualism means to me as a dancer.

Next, I think it is important to acknowledge that some dancers would say you understand dance by dancing - practise based knowledge. This is an epistemological question and it is interesting to look at dance through general epistemological standpoints. Graham McFee wrote 'Understanding Dance' which is a philosophical look at what 'dance' means. And many well known choreographers and dancers have written about their creative process this also leads to analysis of dance - Larry Lavender - 'Dancers Talking Dance - Critical Evaluation in the choreography class' and Doris Humphrey -'The Art of Making Dances'

I have read some of Ann Cooper Albright - 'Choreographing Difference'. I liked the way she writes theoretically and as a practising dancer also. Peter Brinson - 'Dance As Education' is a great history of recent dance in UK. Miranda Tufnell (UK) has written a number of books that look at and support the creative process (in dance). Theresa J. Buckland has edited 'Dance in the field - theory, Method and Issues in Dance Ethnography'.

Surrey, Rohampton, Laban and De Montford have extensive libraries and Cecil Sharp House, English Folk Dance and Song Society has a wonderful library.

For my research chapter - having located the research approach in the mind/body paradigm. I go on to look at literature that is not specific to dance. This because I feel that text and movement are not alternatives to each other so something understood in dance cannot be verbalised in text but strategies for 'understanding' and 'communication' in subjects that are text based can express the feeling and thoughts of movement 'understanding' and 'communication'. Therefore I tend to build bridges between 'subject areas' to create the theoretical framework I am working within. With one all important understanding I need to dance to understand what I think!!! So it is just as important for me to make sure I take two or three classes a week as it is that I go to the library to read. This is not to be elitist, anyone can use this process to understand dance by finding their own relationship with dancing - Bollywood classes, salsa classes, not just professional classes.

So I in my literature review I go on to look at:
Image, language, and presentation of self (Barthes, Saussure, Goffman).

The place of experience in learning (Dewey)

How movement and space are linked (Rasmussen)



Excuse spellings, I think I got most of them
xx

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