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Personal profile

PhD Project

Marisa Godoy | MSc

PhD candidate | C-DaRE

Doctoral research project

Working title: Generating co-presence: intuitions, practices and discoveries of dance artists in the making of improvisation choreography



Collaborative creation processes in contemporary dance require a myriad of artistic skills. Among them are the generation of original, inventive movement material, and dancers’ engagement with embodied knowledges in the form of skills and states that are often tacit and challenging to articulate and document. Particularly in improvisation choreography, out of the ordinary modes of being, thinking and moving, as well as an enhanced perception of self, other and environment – which arguably foster creative modes of working – are crucial components of dance making and performance. Dance practices that seek to facilitate the development of such modes of being and operating only occasionally find their way into the wider dance community. In order to address this lack, my doctoral research – rooted in, informed and shaped by practice, both artistic and ethnographic – seeks to make accessible dance artists’ intuitions, practices and discoveries with regards to collaboration and perception processes. The work of dancer and choreographer Thomas Hauert with his company ZOO, and the creation of Flot (2018), which he realised in collaboration with CCN Ballet de Lorraine, constitute my case study. My inquiry is concerned with how such dance practices are developed and shared. What do artists draw upon in the process of designing them? What states and skills do they aim to achieve? From the dancers’ perspective, what do the practices facilitate? Questions related to the acquisition, maintenance, and transformation of skills and states are also addressed. How do dancers sustain, over time, access to the states in and through which they are required to operate? What is the role of the frequency of exposure to a given practice in the dancers’ appropriation of its various dimensions? My aim is to shed light on the multifaceted process of collective creation when linked to engagement with extra-ordinary modes of being, thinking, and moving. Furthering knowledge of how abilities and states developed in practice are maintained during creation and performance might improve understanding of the scope of the demands on dancers within certain contemporary dance processes. It may also help grasp crucial, if not indispensable, competencies for collaborative creation in the realm of improvisation choreography, and thus inform professionals who create, perform, teach and study dance, be it through practicing or theorising it.

This investigation is embedded in the project Research Video: an online video annotation platform currently in development by web designers in cooperation with practitioners and researchers concerned with alternative, hybrid publication formats. I contribute to the development of the tool by engaging with practices of annotation – a key feature of Research Video and an underexplored area in dance. My aim is to progress practitioner-researchers’ knowledge of the utility of video annotation in dance analysis and publication. How can video annotation serve the purposes of dissemination of dance knowledge? As a vehicle for the sharing of findings, what are the affordances of the Research Video platform and its applicability in dance research? By assuming a discovery-oriented stance to video documentation and annotation, I interact with issues of expanded publications of research results – an inquiry process that potentially leads to fresh insights in the performing arts field with regards to new forms of viewing and reading research materials.

Education/Academic qualification

Dance, MSc, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Sep 2013Oct 2015

Award Date: 15 Oct 2015

External positions

Research associate, Zurich University of the Arts

May 2017Apr 2020
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