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Between minds and bodies: Some insights about creativity from dance improvisation

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Observing dance improvisation provides a unique opportunity to understand how people collaborate together while creating. It is an opportunity to consider how new ideas appear, not simply from the internal processes of a single creator but rather from the interactions between the minds, bodies and the environment acting on and between a group of improvising dancers. Improvisational scores served in this study as a laboratory into group creativity. Using a video-stimulated recall method, which asks dancers to reflect upon their own processes just after completing the score, I explored the interdependency between meta-cognitive strategies such as imagery and sense awareness, group processes, the role of others in one’s own creative processes, and interactions between bodies and with the environment. As a result I describe how dancers build together a common improvisational space, which allows them to co-create and share their ideas mostly in non-verbal, non-propositional ways. I discuss the co-agency of such a process, showing that intentionality is distributed between dancers at each moment of improvisation and that they are mainly focused on supporting the ideas of others. I also discuss the medium of the body and the embodied response as central to dance improvisation practice.
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Keywords: co-agency; dance improvisation; embodied cognition; group creativity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Plymouth University

Publication date: 01 December 2015

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  • Technoetic Arts focuses upon the juncture between art, technology and the mind. Divisions between academic areas of study, once rigidly fixed, are gradually dissolving due to developments in science and cultural practice. This fusion has had a dramatic effect upon the scope of various disciplines. In particular, the profile of art has radically evolved in our present technological culture
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