Multisensorial experiences and embodied knowledge of professional dancers in ballet practices

Doris Dornelles De Almeida

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper aims to understand how the dancer's senses are connected to the acquisition of embodied knowledge in the daily practices in a professional ballet institution (company/private studio). The professional ballet class and rehearsal were thus investigated as a complex practice where embodied learning is socially, politically and culturally framed. The daily ballet technique class is an everyday practice central which helps the dancer prepare for rehearsals and performances and improves the physical and artistic proficiency of the body. Dancers engage in ballet practices through their senses, for example in ballet class: they hear the teacher's tasks and the music, see themselves in the mirror, sweat, feel the body temperature, heartbeat, feel the pressure of body weight against gravity and sense the presence of other dancers in the studio. The professional ballet class transforms and reshapes the dancers' body through experience and affects their sensorial apparatus and the way knowledge is incorporated. The methodology included ethnographic descriptions, my active participation in ballet class and rehearsals, interviews with dancers, archives (video and photos) and performance analysis. I argue that a person's learning processes result from a dynamic interplay of interwoven bodily senses of each dancer depending on the social context.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
EventBody of Knowledge - University of Irvine, Irvine, United States
Duration: 8 Dec 201611 Dec 2016


ConferenceBody of Knowledge
Country/TerritoryUnited States
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