Kinesthetic empathic witnessing in relation to embodied and extended cognition in inclusive dance audiences

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This paper explores the connection between kinesthetic empathy, embodied cognition, and abstract thought and language as a form of extended cognition in audiences of inclusive dance. The exploration grounds itself in the analysis of primary data collected from interviews with audience members of an inclusive dance performance that studied their critical engagement with the concept of disability. Drawn from the interviews are specific choreographic moments and evoked emotions in those audience members and associates the choreography and emotions with possible experiences of kinesthetic empathy and ways of understanding ability and disability in the context of dance. The analysis contributes to a greater understanding of the impact that takes place when watching inclusive dance performances, and other dance performances
that resist or challenge dominant social identity categories. The research contributes to the reduction of the intrinsic-instrumental divide in creative work, expanding the spaces into which cultural value can be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2181486
Number of pages14
JournalCogent Arts & Humanities
Issue number1
Early online date24 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.


  • kinesthetic empathy
  • dance
  • extended cognition
  • disability
  • embodied cognition
  • audiences


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