A Performer’s Perspective

Dance Performance, Research

I am so excited to share this project, which has been in the works for more than a year! This summer we plan to launch an interactive documentary that transmits the perspectives of three performers in Judith Garay’s multimedia dance work, The Fine Line ~ twisted angels.  

I have recently completed a video documentary that discusses more about our process of data collection for this project.

Body of Knowledge Conference

Presentations, Research

I am so excited to present at the Body of Knowledge Conference at my alma mater, UC Irvine, on Thursday December 8, 2016. For a complete schedule of presentations and workshops see: http://sites.uci.edu/bok2016schedule/.

bok-presentation-title-slide-001

Abstract:

Many cognitive scientists are turning to dance experts to explore the relationship between bodily knowledge and perception. Dancers have a unique skill set that integrates physical and expressive abilities, making them intriguing participants in studies that examine how the action observation network, action prediction, learning, memory, and aesthetic preferences are related to one’s physical experiences. While findings from these studies suggest that dance experts perceive movement differently than novices; the definitions of what constitutes a “dance expert” are far ranging, making it challenging to compare results across studies.

We discuss the variety of dance experts that are recruited for scientific studies in movement perception and draw upon research in dance education to form a richer definition of dance expertise. One possible way to parameterize expertise in dance is by role (e.g. performer, teacher) and style (e.g. ballet, hip-hop). However, the challenge in differentiating expertise by style or role is that many many dancers have trained in multiple styles of dance and commonly have overlapping roles–thus creating a knot of expertise.

To untie this knot, we propose an enactive approach. Rather than label dancers as experts or novices based on an arbitrary requirement of the number of years a dancer has trained in a particular style or role, we suggest that broader categories of expertise will emerge from the data that go beyond both style and role. We predict four main types of expertise: Virtuosic, Expressive, Kinematic and Expressive expertise. Through combining methodologies such as psychometric measurement, eye tracking, brain imaging, phenomenological and analytical accounts of movement we can develop a more complete understanding of how expertise relates to the ways in which dance experts observe, learn, and articulate movement. This research can both inform the study of movement perception and help define gaps in dance education.

PhD Proposal

Presentations, Research

Presenting my PhD dissertation proposal Thursday, November 3rd at 10am. The presentation is open to the public and will be held at SFU Surrey in room 2995.

title-slide-proposal-001

Photo by Reese Muntean. Pictured: Antonio Somera, Vanessa Goodman, and Bevin Poole in The Fine Line ~ twisted angels, choreographed by Judith Garay.  Costume design by Margaret Jenkins.

NDEO Movement Sesssion

Classes and Workshops, Presentations, Research

I am very excited to be leading a movement session at NDEO on Friday, October 7 2:15-3:15 in room Washington A.  See below for a description of the session.

ndeo

 

Exploring Embodiment: Applying Research in Embodied Cognition to Dance Practice

What does it mean to be embodied? The idea of embodiment is widely discussed in cognitive science, philosophy, technology design, dance research, and somatic practices. In this movement workshop we discuss and physically explore various viewpoints on embodiment–as well as the possibility of disembodiment.

Embodied Cognition is a theory that is becoming widely accepted in scientific communities. Its main premise is that cognitive processes do not only take place in the brain, but are shared between the body, brain and environment. Many scientists have turned to the dance community to study and validate this theory. For example, recent research suggests that our physical experiences influence how we perceive and observe movement. While this research is relevant to dance practice, it has not yet been fully integrated in teaching curriculums for dance.

The intersection of cognitive science and dance is an emerging field of study that can inform ways in which we teach and learn dance. In this workshop I explore ways of transferring knowledge in cognitive science to dance practice. Through guided movement exercises, participants experience concepts such as, cognitive interference, theories of attention, and modes of learning.

Through dance we can also explore bodily processes of cognition. In the last few years there has been a surge of government support in the United States to study the brain. However, as theories of embodied cognition gain traction in scientific domains, it becomes more apparent that it is difficult to study the brain without also studying the the role of the body.

Integrating cognitive science research into dance curriculum ensures a future where dancers are not only participants in experiments, but also researchers that develop theories of cognition based on their bodily expertise and experiences. The future of researching embodiment cannot be studied in a jar. Embodiment must be experienced, moved, and danced.

Phraseless Phrasing

Research

I have now completed the LMA certification program through the LIMS Modular program in Belgium. In my final project I examined phrasing—or rather non-phrasing–in Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A. To find out more check out my abstract and some of the tools I used to conduct my analysis under the Research tab, “Phraseless Phrasing” project –or click here.

Trio A Timeline

Created with Timeline JS

 

 

Upcoming Presentations in DC and Irvine

Classes and Workshops, Presentations, Programs Classes and Workshops, Publications, Research

Looking forward to attending the NDEO  conference in Washington DC this October. I will be leading a movement session called: “Exploring Embodiment: Applying Research in Embodied Cognition to Dance Practice.”   

I am also looking forward to returning to my alma mater, UC Irvine in December to present at the Body of Knowledge: Embodied Cognition and the Arts conference. I will be presenting my paper with Professor Thecla Schiphorst, “Untying the Knot of Dance Movement Expertise: An Enactive Approach.”

 

Untying the Knot Picture

POEME in Kraków, Poland

Interactive Movement Installation, Presentations, Research

Introducing Schrifttanz–POEME’s newest author!

POEME teams up with the ARTeFACT project to explore conceptual metaphors. 

Check out our abstract Schrifttanz: Written Dance/Movement Poems, presented at the Digital Humanities 2016 conference in Kraków, Poland on July 14, 2016.  

Authors: Susan L. Wiesner, Shannon Cuykendall, Ethan Soutar-Rau, Rommie L. Stalnaker, Thecla Schiphorst, Karen Bradley

Pictures from our demo of POEME: Schrifttanz Edition!