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Orientation for communication: Embodiment, and the language of dance

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In this article I explore the place of movement, particularly dance, in understanding and communication of the lived experience. I look at the gap between corporeal sensation and the communication of that knowledge into wider social contexts. Drawing on narratives gathered from four case studies in British schools, I look at dance as a mode of language that can offer a methodological approach to understanding the lived experience.

I take the pragmatist starting point of embodiment to argue that the immediacy of empirical experience is limited by the use of verbal languages alone to organize meaning-making. I suggest that ideas are three-dimensional, having aspects that are revealed by the attributes of different languages but are not limited to the language through which they are communicated. Therefore a network of languages, including movement languages, can create a web of understanding that addresses the deficits of each single language within that web. I suggest that a focus on just one mode of language to communicate ideas could result in a loss of engagement with the full potential of an idea. I suggest that different languages have a rhizomatic relationship each having equal potential to add to the quality and ‘thickness’ of communication of the multi-layered experience of embodiment.
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Keywords: communication; dance; embodiment; language; perception; sensation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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  • Empedocles aims to provide a publication and discussion platform for those working at the interface of philosophy and the study of communication, in all its aspects. This Journal is published in cooperation with the Section for the Philosophy of Communication of ECREA, the European Communication Reserach and Education Association.
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