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Dancing bodies, spaces/places and the senses: A cross-cultural investigation

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This article demonstrates that ‘dancing bodies’, ‘space’, ‘place’ and the ‘senses’ cannot be accepted as universal concepts since they are embedded within typically western understandings, and argues that all corporealities and spatialities are socially and culturally mediated. Wanting to engage with dance as a complex holistic, polysemic, multi-sensory and socially/culturally rooted practice, dance scholars need to be aware of cultural variations in conceptualizations of dancing bodies in space. The article offers a cross-cultural perspective, presenting different corporealities, sensoria and spatial orientations of dancing bodies using a variety of examples, ranging from Balinese dance to Josephine Baker, from Namibian to Australian Aboriginal dance.
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Keywords: Josephine Baker; Tiwi dance; ballet; corporeality; sensorium; spatiality; verticality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Roehampton

Publication date: 2012-04-27

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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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