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Integrating semi-structured somatic practices and contemporary dance technique training

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Previous research has examined the effects of more structured somatic practices, sometimes referred to as codified or structural integrity techniques, on contemporary dance education, yet few researchers have addressed the effects of open- or semi-structured somatic frameworks. This article is presented in two parts: the first part examines previous research as a ground from which to develop a method to deliver and study the effects of less codified somatic frameworks within a contemporary dance technique; the second part presents a short piece of practical research which developed from this basis. The research, conducted within a first-year college dance programme, consisted of a series of somatically informed contemporary dance technique classes. Results of the study included students' displaying enhanced bodily connection, creativity, confidence and critical understanding of tenets underlying somatic work, as well as some implications for dance technique. It also addresses some of the issues arising from introducing semi-structured frameworks within a contemporary technique class.

Keywords: contemporary dance; semi-structured framework; somatic movement dance education; somatics; teaching practices; technique

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Central Lancashire.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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  • This journal focuses on the relationship between dance and somatic practices, and the influence of this body of practice on the wider performing arts. The journal will be aimed at scholars and artists, providing a space for practitioners and theorists to debate the work, to consider the impact and influence of the work on performance, the interventions that somatic practices can have on other disciplines and the implications for research and teaching.
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