If life is what happens to our plans, then dance is what happens to our steps.
ideas sometimes when you wait they come to you.

Preparation for starting with BAPP

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Why blog when I’m busy? And it doesn’t get marked! multiple agents construct meaning through interaction

Not to be even heavier than usual!!! This blog is about community: I do not believe we exist alone. I think we are connected to, influenced by, shaped, and fed – exist really in our interactions.  It is what I write about:
“A ‘thing’ is what one knows it to be, and when ones knowledge of it changes it changes also therefore epistemologically and ontologically things are the same. A person could not exist unaffected by what is around them as if person and environment existed independently of each other. Instead the reality of both is found in how they are perceived by each other through their interactions and responses.

‘Our position is simply that since man as an organism has evolved among other organisms in an evolution called “natural”, we are will under hypothesis to treat all of his behaving, including his most advanced knowing, as activities not of himself alone, nor even as primarily his, but as processes of the full situation of organism-environment;’ (Dewey and Boydston 2008, p. 97)

Placing the perceiving body as central, the experiential nature of this complements dance. Dance clearly also finds meaning through the body interacting with its environment for instance a dance step, such as a grand bat-mon, is not just a technical description but is also created by the body of the specific dancer executing it, the environment it is executed in (the floor surface, the size of space), the rhythm of music and so on. The Grand-bat-mon is an example of the object becoming how it is interacted with. The dance step cannot be extracted from our interactions with it. This is a good example of how something is interacted with shapes what it is.

This dissolving of the subject / object divide is experienced in dance. Dance is a thinking process, not through the subjects static mental theorising but is the sensory interaction of the dancer through movement. The mind-ful body of the dancer is a mechanism of many parts responding to the environment of the dance studio including responses to other dancers, physical environment, sound and intention of action. Dance activity highlights the possibility of a kind of metaphysic in which multiple agents construct meaning through interaction. Sheets-Johnstone exemplifies this relationship of perception, interaction and movement as she describes the interactive process of dance contact improvisation.

‘The world that I and other dancers are together exploring is inseparable from the world we are together creating’ (Sheets-Johnstone 2009, p.32)

So how do we teach like that, taking into account of the fact each of you (the students) are connected to your life; each of you are a part of your own parade? (doing Work Based Learning). How would you do it? We thought of blogs as a way to make those connections – this is away to talk to the community of people on BAPP (and MAPP) and still respect your busy lives. So you can say what you think – connect at 2am because that’s when the idea comes to you and still be able to be heard by those people who are not on that kind of schedule, who will read the post at 9am because that’s their thing. And then they might notice something in what you say because they have different connections, they are a part of a different parade. As you do the same for them. The blogs are also public and have the possibility to reach out to people all over the world. When I look at the stats. of who looks at my blog they include, Russia, India, Europe, USA, … Someone out there might have something to say that you would not other wise ever get to meet. We have a lot to do to make a better world, the collaboration of communication and listening is part of it I believe so that is why I teach on this course this way. But if you don’t write posts or comment or engage in the community then it defeats the philosophy of the idea. The blogs are about what Sheets-Johnsone: describes together we are explore and creating the educational experience – the learning journey. You are not dancing alone in a black hole!! That’s my answer to why blog?

What do you think?

Dewey, J. and Boydston, J. A. (2008) The later works of John Dewey, 1925-1953, The collected works of John Dewey, 1882-1953, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Sheets-Johnstone, M. (2009) The corporeal turn : an interdisciplinary reader, Exeter, UK ; Charlottesville, VA: Imprint Academic.


  1. Here here. Great blog. I think it's about giving your ideas the performance or presentation they deserve. The world is ever-changing and we as thinkers should be on the leading edge of this notion. By blogging ideas and interacting with the ideas of others. One can grow their thought processes and engage with the outside world.


  2. The whole idea of us existing through our interactions is one of those paradigms that just keeps on going! The more you think about it, the more layered and complicated the idea becomes! It's like when you start to think about the scale of the universe, eventually your mind can't comprehend it anymore!

    The biggest challenge in this course, as far as I'm concerned, is the self motivation and discipline it requires! Without blogging and talking to your tutor and getting to as many campus sessions as possible (or any at all) the whole thing can slide into your peripheral vision, and eventually just fade into the background. You have to keep engaged and focused and involved, all from your workplace/home. That's hard!

    Thinking in the way you have described is good encouragement for us to keep at it!

  3. As a philosopher I find your logic somewhat muddled and your ideas diffuse but that seems to be the way of the world today......

  4. Hi Kathy, are you on the BAPP course? This seems like the exciting moment when someone who I would not know connects through the blog posts. Thank you for your comment. Dewey has been criticised as confused and muddled but I think it is because he writes from a shift in paradigm. I would love to hear more since your comment quite intriguingly implies you see things differently.