Points in mental space: an interdisciplinary study of imagery in movement creation

Jon May, Beatriz Calvo-Merino, Scott DeLahunta, Wayne McGregor, Rhodri Cusack, Adrian Owen, Michele Veldsman, Cristina Ramponi, Philip Barnard

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    35 Citations (Scopus)
    52 Downloads (Pure)


    As part of a programme of research that is developing tools to enhance choreographic practice, an interdisciplinary team of cognitive scientists, neuroscientists and dance professionals collaborated on two studies examining the mental representations used to support movement creation. We studied choreographer Wayne McGregor’s approach to movement creation through tasking, in which he asks dancers to create movement in response to task instructions that require a great deal of mental imagery and decision making. In our first experiment, we used experience sampling methods (self-report scales and reports about the current focus of thought) with the full company ofWayne McGregor | Random Dance to describe what the dancers report thinking about while creating movement, and to establish how their experiences change as a function of different task conditions. In particular, we contrasted a conventional ‘active’ condition (where dancers are free to move around) with a ‘static’ condition (where they have to create movement mentally, without moving), because all neuroimaging studies of dance require participants to lie motionless within a scanner.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)402-430
    JournalDance Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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