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Colours on the surface of my body in motion: The relationship between synaesthesia and dance improvisation

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In synaesthesia, the stimulation of one sense or cognitive concept simultaneously and involuntarily produces a sensation in a second sense or cognitive experience. while synaesthesia has been investigated from neuroscience and psychology to social sciences and the arts, the relationship between synaesthesia and dance is largely un-researched. This article provides insight into my practice-led research project on the relationship between synaesthesia and dance improvisation, informed by somatic practice. It demonstrates the interrelation of synaesthesia and dance improvisation when performed by a synaesthete, and discusses the role of attention in this context as well as explorations of the relationship between synaesthesia, somatic practice and dance improvisation by synaesthetes and non-synaesthetes. In conclusion it is suggested that research into synaesthesia through dance and somatic practice can contribute to an integral understanding of this highly quantitatively investigated phenomenon.
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Keywords: attention; dance improvisation; kinaesthesia; somatic practice; synaesthesia; synesthesia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Independent artist

Publication date: July 1, 2019

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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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