Sense and Sensibility: Writings on Kinesthetic Potentials and Dance Education
Thomas K. Hagood and Mary Alice Brennan
In contemporary discourse the term kinesthetic learning enjoys a prominent yet oft broadly interpreted place in the lexicon for dance arts education. A cursory look at promotional materials for workshops, course descriptions, somatic therapeutic approaches, and other venues for instruction in dance or movement arts illustrates the scope and breadth of the references to the kinesthetic as a focus and benefit of these experiences. The degree to which the field is working from an accepted working definition of what the kinesthetic sense is, and how it may be useful to learning in and though dance is an important consideration for dance educators working in all contexts; the academy, professional schools or private studios. This paper focuses on illuminating the story of the discovery and original description of the biological and physiological structures associated with what was first termed the ‘kinesthetic’ sense (Bastian 1885), provides an overview of the incorporation of the kinesthetic in an early dance education program, provides an example of a contemporary best practice that incorporates kinesthetically informed pedagogies into the dance education environment, and concludes with a recommendation for the future direction of inquiry and investigation in this continually emergent dimension of study and practice of dance.
Embodied Consciousness: Moving on the Dancing Ground of Time
Women Creators in their Eighth and Ninth Decades
This article focuses on the preliminary findings of a qualitative research study on creative women in their eighth and ninth decades. A preliminary study in 2008 and ninety hours of orally recorded interviews in 2010 provide the data for this paper. Theorizing from the interview data, the research of psychologist Ellen J. Langer and neuroscientist Antonio Damasio as well as the written account of psychoanalyst Marion Woodman’s experience about recovery from cancer, this research into the lives of creative women in their seventies, eighties, and nineties seeks to counter ageism’s stereotypical prejudice of helpless decline using narratives of their vitality and choice-making. The author argues that acts of creative engagement can shift the experience of temporality from a culturally constricted linear trajectory about the passing of time and aging to a space where expectations expand to imagine temporality in a nonlinear way.
Between the Real and the Imagined: White Snake Variations, Front Stage and Back Stage
By Cheng Shu-gi
In 1995, Helen Lai choreographed The White Snake Variations for the four founding members of Taipei Crossover Dance Company. In her work, Ms. Lai creatively made the space-time of the stage alive by using a large number of dialogues and properties. Partitioning the stage in different ways, she made audiences sitting in front of the stage feel as if they were backstage in the dressing-room. Ms. Lai reproduced, recombined, and recomposed a new White Snake that blends the new and the old, the real and the imagined.
The White Snake Variations become one of the most precious works because it cannot be performed in its original form. I, the writer, use my experience and points of view to reflect and analyze the piece. I sincerely hope this research will clarify the way Helen Lai presents the relative distance between the performers’ stage life and their real life in the new innovative dance piece with many surprises.
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