Dancing and talking
: exploring the value of talk within dance improvisation

  • Naama Spitzer

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Arts by Research


    This study is an exploration of dance improvisation practice and in particular it recognizes and investigates opportunities for reflective talk that naturally occurs within the practice. The study examines the way dancers’ strategies, shared narratives and talk embody the philosophy of the moving body that underpins improvisation as a contemporary dance practice. The study focuses closely on what dancers say about their dance and how it feeds into the movement itself. By exploring the interrelationship between spoken and embodied knowledges, the study sheds light on the improvisation process and suggests new ways of explaining the knowledge that resides within dance improvisation in Western culture. By using an ethnographic approach, the research explores how improvisation is practiced within a learning environment of pre-professional dancers and in a context of practicing dance artists. The study reveals that there is an oral culture of talk rituals which is practiced within both the learning and professional environment of dance improvisation. It shows that an important aspect of the knowledge that is generated through dance improvisation is transmitted via talk and passed on through this oral culture, which not only augments the passing on and ‘picking up’ of a collection of embodied skills and methods but is also fundamental in helping to determine what constitutes the core characteristics of dance improvisation.
    Date of Award2011
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University


    • Dance practice
    • Oral culture
    • Talk rituals
    • Dance improvisation

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