Embodiment, Appreciation and Dance
: Issues in relation to an exploration of the experiences of London based, ‘non-aligned’ artists

  • D. J. Carr

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis offers an interdisciplinary exploration of ‘embodiment’ in relation to
the appreciation of dance as a performing art practised in contemporary
London at the beginning of the twenty first century.
Consideration of different uses of the term ‘embodiment’ suggests that while
artists may approach the embodiment of their dance with a sense of personal
intention, their dancing may also be understood to embody ‘ways of being’
that, enmeshed within a wider culture, raise questions as to the relationship
between individual agency and the discursive practices within which dance is
understood. Such conceptual reflections establish a theoretical context from
which to investigate the viewpoints of dance artists themselves.
Fieldwork amongst dance artists thus contributed to the research. Working in
London but coming from a range of dance traditions and making work outside
the ‘mainstream’ dance companies, their input provides valuable insights into
what, at present, may be important aspects of culture that influence what is
perceived as embodied in dance. In addition, their experiences of making and
performing dance inform investigation of the relationship between
phenomenological and semiotic approaches to dance.
In this context consideration of what is embodied in dance is found to be
important to reflection on its appreciation. Further, the appreciation of dance
performance is considered as an embodied act, important to which is the
phenomenological experience of dance as communicative. Such experience
is suggested to be dependent on, but not completely bound by semiotic systems thus allowing for the personal agency of both performer and
Date of Award2007
Original languageEnglish

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