Awareness of and relationship to other dancers in performance

The Philosophy of Dance (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

awareness of and relationship to other dancers in performance

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The case of dance seems to be very well suited to evaluate these theories insofar as the art object contains live bodily movements.

In fact, a study conducted by Calvo-Merino et al. They showed that high ratings were associated with a stronger engagement of action-related neural systems.

This and other studies indicate that the aesthetic experience of dance involves sensorimotor processing arguably of the gesture underlying the artwork Calvo-Merino et al. In addition, one could argue that the aesthetic experience of the spectator could be associated with explicit emotional responses. In fact, dance gestures and movements can be explicitly expressive and thus could evoke emotional responses in the public Atkinson et al.

However, in many cases in contemporary dance, the aesthetic experience can be derived neither from explicit emotional expressions nor the production of recognizable gestures, since the dance work can eschew both elements. In order to inform our research on spectating, we take into account studies in the field of humanities and performance, which by focusing on the uniqueness of each artistic proposal and the spectator attitude, examine the multiplicity and complexity of this experience at several dimensions: The studies presented here, and the larger research program which they are part of, are an attempt to build bridges between the humanities and the cognitive sciences.

The approach consists in taking into consideration both the aesthetic and phenomenological aspects of spectating when setting-up experimental protocols. We believe this kind of bi-directional bridge has the potential to enrich both quantitative research common to the cognitive sciences and qualitative research practiced in dance studies. While the phenomenological perspective allows for a more nuanced and rich modeling of the subjective experience, experimental data can help clarify some of the neurophysiological mechanisms at play.

Here, we investigated changes in the cognitive and physiological states of participants spectating a distinctive dance style, that of the French choreographer Myriam Gourfink. The choreographer Myriam Gourfink has developed a specific speed and quality of movement that make her style unique and recognizable beyond the specificities of each piece for internet examples see: Dancers can spend 8 min to cross 10 cm Lesauvage and Piettre, It is induced by a technique that changes brain and body states: According to the choreographer [it] is the breathing that entrains this slowing-down of movement Lesauvage and Piettre, The fundamental aspect of energy yoga is the generation of slow movements and controlled breathing Lesauvage and Piettre, During the energy yoga sessions and during the performance, dancers share their attention between the respiration, micro-movement and body sensations Lesauvage and Piettre, Every live performance is also preceded by a few hours of yoga practice that brings about the characteristic quality of presence and speed of movement.

One often experiences blindness to the progressive postural changes in the visual scene. In addition, some spectators report a strange experience of space and time just after the presentation and are surprised by the objective length of the performance that they often underestimate. One major effect of her choreography is an increased bodily self-consciousness and kinesthetic sensation.

These studies are highly informed by the qualitative literature that shapes our hypothesis space and at the same time allow us to explore quantitatively relationships between different dimensions of the subjective experience and between subjective experience and intersubjective physiological factors.

This implies a co-presence of bodies and a real time relationship between the experience of the spectators and the one of the performers. An emergent idea in cognitive neuroscience is that coordinated behavior between two or more persons is a fundamental aspect of human interaction Knoblich and Sebanz, The notion of entrainment has been borrowed from physics to indicate the phenomenon by which two rhythmic processes interact with each other so that they adjust themselves and eventually become rhythmically coupled like bearing the same phase; Clayton, This notion was extended beyond physics to include many natural and cultural phenomena that have a periodic nature.

Examples of such phenomena include the synchronous activity of neuronal groups, the synchronous social behavior in animals and cultural phenomena such as dance.

Since humans coordinate their activities in a variety of events during daily life, this coordinated behavior has been thought to be important in social interactions, and has been said to promote cooperation van Baaren et al.

Coordinated motor responses seem to arise even in the absence of any explicit instructions to do so. They observed that people unintentionally synchronized, and that the strength of such coupling relied upon information that the participants have of each other. Entrainment has been studied also in relation to musical action synchronization Clayton, as well as synchronization between two or more dancers performing a rhythmically structured movement see the current issue.

Here, we propose to enlarge the notion of entrainment to incorporate a wider spectrum of phenomena, and include the dynamic coordination that happens in the absence of an explicit rhythmical structure, like in many forms of contemporary dance. This may allow us to measure coordinated behavior that may not bear strict oscillatory features. We suggest that audience entrainment could be measured by assessing the coordination of physiological activities between performers and spectators at multiple levels: The respiratory rate is a signal of the autonomic nervous system, thought to echo emotional states and responses Boiten et al.

Autonomic signals such as the respiratory rate, and others such as cardiac responses, have also been studied in the context of real-time inter-subjective engagement. For instance, certain studies have assessed coordination of autonomic signals between pairs.

Respiratory and cardiac responses have been shown to be coordinated between romantic partners Helm et al. In addition, researchers have found, in a more natural setting, a co-variation of cardiac responses between participants and spectators in a collective ritual Konvalinka et al. More recently, other studies have investigated collective vs. In this experiment we analyze whether synchronous respiratory rates between spectators and performers were correlated with subjective reports in particular, those reflecting attention to respiration.

The experience of time has been thought by some investigators to be dependent on an internal clock mechanism or pacemaker Hoagland, In this model pulses are accumulated, stored in working memory, and then compared to a reference Gibbon et al.

The estimation of time has been shown to be modulated by a complex ensemble of brain-body factors that include cognitive, emotional and physical states Wittmann and van Wassenhove, and by the characteristics of the stimulus we perceive Nather et al. Attention and arousal have a decisive role in time perception. An increase of arousal induced by emotions like fear Grommet et al. These states are associated with an increase of attention particularly internalized and reduced arousal.

Interoceptive focus has been shown to increase time distortion in both senses: Studies show that temporal over-estimation can be induced by static pictures depicting distinct body postures Nather et al. According to aesthetic and phenomenological studies a major effect of this choreography on the spectator is an increased awareness of movement, millimeter per millimeter, a changed temporal awareness associated with an increased interoceptive focus, and an increased kinesthetic sensation Gioffredi, In this sense, studies in aesthetics guided our experimental work for the construction of a post hoc questionnaire.

In our second experiment we analyzed whether time distortion effects in the spectators were correlated with their subjective reports engagement, attention to the movement and interoceptive awareness. Our investigation is inscribed in the approach to human interaction as a dynamic phenomenon that could be better understood using real-life paradigms.

Instead of using video stimuli we use paradigms where spectators attend to a real performance in a theatre or attend to a semi-controlled experimental setting spectators observe live extracts of the full performance in a dance studio.

We think that this methodology has the potential to provide a better insight into how dance performance affects spectators. The dance philosopher is thus faced with these two tasks among others: For more on expression as a feature of dance see Section 5.

Dance historian Selma Jean Cohen has held that expressiveness is present in all dance, causing Monroe C. Beardsley to posit that expressiveness might be a necessary if not sufficient condition for dance as art. Borrowing from action theory, Beardsley says that one causal bodily action can, under the right circumstances, be sortally generated into another kind of action. Thus, the act of marrying can, under the right circumstances, also be bigamy. Following Beardsley here, we can thus say that an act of running, for example, can, under the right circumstances, also be dance.

The right circumstances, he maintains, might be expressiveness, as described above. We can also infer here that other conditions of dance might also apply being on a stage in a theater, being offered for appreciation as a dance, conducted in ways that are part of a dance vocabulary, etc. See Meskin for more on dances as action sequences rather than mere movements. In short, Khatchadourian says that a dance consists of movements that are not actions because they are not intentional in the traditional sense, that of being directed towards making something change in the real world rather than in the imagined world of a theatrical performance.

Khatchadourian follows Susanne K. Langer b in his claim that dance movements are not actions. Neither Beardsley nor Khatchadourian agree with Langer: Langer b would presumably agree with Khatchadourian that dance movement is not action but agree with Beardsley that the kind of movement dance creates differs in kind from movement simpliciter.

Langer b explicitly includes dance as art into her system of the arts when she holds that all of the arts are in essence symbol-making endeavors. She agrees that action is a necessary feature of dance. Both Aaron Meskinand Pakes suggest that it is the embodiment of dance in a physical, intentional event that makes dances better construed as action-structures rather than eternal types.

It is for this reason among others that they find dance to be ill-suited for analysis under a Platonic ontology of art in which the structure of the work of art is discovered rather than created. They deny that expressiveness, in the sense of either intensity or non-practicality, could be either a necessary or sufficient condition for dance.

Dances are usually known by the name and date of their first performance but subsequent performances and casts can change the structural and other qualitative features that were present in the original performance. Further, as mentioned earlier, many dances have no notated score and, if they are preserved via video or other method, subsequent performances can still deviate from these frameworks in significant and perhaps identity-changing ways.

A dance notation might also function as the jumping-off point from which to make a radically new kind of dance rather than a limitation on innovation and changes to which a dance choreographer or set of performers must adhere.

In this way dance is not unlike music for more on this see Section 3, below, and S.

Awareness programme Model dance

A defining feature of allographic artforms, according to Goodman, is that their works can, in identification-relevant form, be notated. This is true in principle, even in those cases where there is no actual score. He also says that this can be done and that in fact it is done in a broad and benchmark sort of way in practice: A further problem they point out is that a dance score does not function the way a musical score or theater script typically does — it does not in practice always provide the essential features of a work or provide a recipe for subsequent performances to follow see Franko and a.

Ballet And Modern Dance: Using Ballet as the Basis for Other Dance Techniques

For more on the differences of dance with music and theater see Section 3, below. Whether or not Armelagos and Sirridge are right about musical scores and theater scripts here is something the reader is encouraged to consider.

One might ask whether this is a relevant criticism if Goodman never sought to address dance practice. For a different account of how Goodman construes the work of art see S. For more on dance notation in general see Guest, and On this point against Goodman see also Levinson and Margolis Both agree, however, that a work of art is a re-performable object tied to a constitutive abstract structure.

The dancer, for example, often supplies structural and stylistic elements of a dance during the course of rehearsing and performing the piece that were not specified or provided by the choreographer. Both Van Camp and Renee Conroy have argued that the ontology of dance needs to be more reflective of and responsive to actual danceworld and artworld practice. She thus follows pragmatic methodology in its claim that it eschews essentialism, construed as a method of identifying fixed and unchanging features of a given concept, practice or entity.

awareness of and relationship to other dancers in performance

She also follows pragmatism in upholding pluralism, and in holding that the ongoing deliberative and decision-making practices of dance world constituents such as performers, choreographers, audiences, historians, and critics should be considered in an important way when developing an account of dance work identity. Van Camp also includes the art law community as part of this art world, suggesting that dance philosophers consider which features of a dance are given copyright protection in legal contexts.

For an additional account of why dance practice should be relevant when considering the ontology of art see D. The problem that Davies identifies is that dance-making and performing does not always stay within guidelines that would allow dance philosophers to say that this is true in all cases.

awareness of and relationship to other dancers in performance

This has led D. This diverges somewhat from Van Campwho holds that the history and practice of dance allows a wide degree of variation among performances of dance works without loss of work identity. For more on the difference between works, versions, and interpretations see S. Research by Franko on dance reconstruction provides an additional argument against the classical paradigm, the idea that a dance is repeatable, which he says is a myth that is not supported by dance practice.

Even reconstruction of past dances from scores and recordings has been relatively rare among contemporary choreographers Franko Franko points out that most choreographers who seek to reconstruct past dances do not so for the purposes of repeating or performing a past structure in order to preserve it. Instead they seek to comment upon, rethink or theorize about the earlier dance in something new.

This may be true of music and of theater as well and it is something upon which the dance philosopher should reflect before assuming that this is a distinguishing feature of dance.

awareness of and relationship to other dancers in performance

For more on comparisons with music and theater see Section 3 below; see also S. Davies—5, for a discussion of reconstructions of works of Shakespeare. Meskin has perhaps the most complicated and comprehensive ontology of dance of all, holding that when an audience experiences a dance performance we are experiencing three works of art: He further notes that a solo performance by an individual dancer may also be its own artwork if that performance comprises the whole work.

In short, by including productions and performances to the type-level of artworks Meskin provides one way to understand why the classical paradigm may be open to the objection that the dance work of art understood only as one kind of type is unstable. Differences in individual performance events, for example, may be due to differences in production- and performance interpretation-works that demonstrate or that create functional instabilities in the choreographic-work. For more on the question of What is Dance?

Comparisons with Music and Theater The art of dance is closest in form to music and theater, since in many salient instances it involves a performance setting in which performers and audience members share a physical and temporal space during the course of a live performance event.

For an overview of the philosophy of music see BicknellS. DaviesKaniaGracyk and Kania and; for an overview of philosophy of theater see J.

awareness of and relationship to other dancers in performance

HamiltonOsipovich and Woodruff For performance in music and theater see D. Davies b, Thom and Godlovitch Unfortunately, there has been little work in philosophy of dance that addresses music and theater so the survey below will be somewhat speculative as to directions additional work in this area might take.

One of the difficulties for developing the philosophy of dance is that the methodology of philosophical analysis encourages separating out each art form in order to say what makes it distinct from every other form of art.

For more on hybrid artforms see Levinson Thus that dance is most often performed to music, and that the music might in some cases be a constituting feature of the dance work of art, as in the case where a dance is created by a choreographer in conjunction with a composer, has so far eluded any sustained treatment by dance philosophers.

Dance - Components of the dance |

Igor Stravinsky, for example, composed the music for ballets either at the behest of or in conjuction with a dance company director such as with Sergei Diaghilev for The Rite of Spring and with George Balanchine for Apollo and in these cases it might be argued that the music is a constitutive feature of the dance works of art that emerged from these collaborations see S.

For a history of dance as a theater art see Cohen Music and theater may be discussed in terms of general similarities and differences, as I shall do below, but this is not the same as discussing a philosophy of art that considers dance-music or dance-theater works of art. Is the work of art an abstract structure and if so what kind? Is it constituted by performance?

What is the role and importance of the performer or performance in connection to work ontology? There are ongoing debates about the answers to these questions in the philosophy of music and the philosopher of theater, just as there are in the philosophy of dance.

In addition close analogues to dance in theater can be found in bodily enhanced comedy such as the kind of slapstick routines to be found in vaudeville and then popularized by such performers as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Red Skelton and Lucille Ball, and all forms of mime. Dance is also used to a large degree in musical theater — a hybrid form of dance, music, and theater. A third similarity between the philosophy of dance and the philosophies of music and of theater is that they are all dealing with an art form that is often experienced live in front of an audience.

This leads to philosophical questions in each field about the extent to which dance, music and theater are: For more on dance improvisation see Section 6, below. Since dance, music and theater share the honor of being considered among the most expressive arts, perhaps because of the typical proximity of human performers to the way these artforms are experienced, the philosophies of these arts acknowledge this.

This is necessary to execute their elaborate mudrasconventional symbolic gestures, with accuracy and grace. Differences among dancers However rigorous and uniform training may be, each dancer always has a personal style of dancing. Certain skills come more easily to some dancers than to others: The same choreography may also look completely different when executed by two different bodies.

Thus, a dancer with very long limbs will make high leg extensions look exaggeratedly long while appearing slightly awkward in fast, intricate footwork.

Another dancer may have a great deal of energy and speed but be unable to produce a sustained and beautiful line in held positions. Finally, dancers vary a great deal in the way they articulate and project movement. Some dancers move in a way that is tense, energetic, and even aggressive in its attack, while others appear soft and fluid. Some phrase their movements so that every detail is sharp and clear; others so that one element flows into another.

Some move exactly in time with the phrasing of the music; others phrase their movement slightly independently of it. One dancer may produce movements that are dramatically charged and expressive, while another may be cool and detached, concentrating on technical perfection.

In modern dance the dancer may be highly esteemed for individual style and technique but is generally expected to submit his own personality to the demands of the choreography. Some of the works by the American choreographer Alwin Nikolais went so far as to conceal the dancer altogether under a panoply of props, costumes, and lighting projections.

Martha Swope The display of individual style is inevitable in theatre dances such as ballet and modern dance, where trained professionals perform for the pleasure of an audience.

Some participatory dances also allow individual dancers to display their talents, as in ballroom or disco dancing, but in many folk dances, particularly those derived from ancient rituals, the sense of unity within the group usually outweighs the importance attached to any one dancer.