Through the lens of choreographic process: Mixing reflexive perspectives on audiences and understanding

Scott Delahunta, Jordan Beth Vincent

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose: This article aims to bring together and demonstrate overlaps in three different areas of reflexive research concerned variously with audiences for contemporary dance. These are: 1) artists reflecting on their own creative process and engaging other researchers in doing so, generating new insights and language as a result; 2) humanities-based dance studies and a small number of dance scholars reflecting on this “process turn” in dance; and 3) the field of empirical audience studies, drawing on a single study specifically interested in access to creative process. The goal is to propose how these areas might coexist and mutually inform each other.

    Design/methodology/approach: The approach develops a three-fold framework where the multiple definitions and examples of reflexive research in dance-making processes coexist. It draws systematically on a detailed example of one self-reflective study conducted by a dance company into creative process, on new scholarly writing on the “process turn” in dance research and written analysis of a unique audience research project as well as related literature.

    Findings: In conclusion, the article suggests that in whatever combination of different research approaches, empirical evidence is increasingly important. This risks tipping the balance towards a more utilitarian understanding, particularly in the area of audience studies. It is possible to counterbalance this with approaches from artists and scholars interested in understanding arrived at through reflexive study of creative practice.

    Originality/value: The original contribution is to bring these three areas together for the first time to expose difference and overlaps and suggest that challenges of understanding (in a non-utilitarian form) could be mitigated through more systematic dialogue between them, such as presented here.

    Keywords: Dance, Audiences, Audience studies, Choreographer, Dance studies, Reflexive research

    Paper type Conceptual paper
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)53-64
    Number of pages11
    JournalArts and the Market
    Issue number1
    Early online date7 Mar 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Audience studies
    • Audiences
    • Choreographer
    • Dance
    • Dance studies
    • Reflexive research

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities(all)
    • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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