Practice and Process: Skinner Releasing Technique and Making Dance for Performance and on Screen

  • Polly Hudson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis is a study of a long-­‐term artistic practice, and of the works in the accompanying portfolio of evidence. It considers practice as research, Skinner Releasing Technique, the work of Joan Skinner, and the history of Skinner Releasing Technique alongside its current applications and development.
Key elements of Skinner Releasing Technique are highlighted, including the terminology and language used, notions of being in process, of letting go, and of the importance of imagery in the technique. Significant components of the research and artistic practice are examined. Each of the works in the portfolio is mapped chronologically, and the development of themes and practices as the research progressed is considered, with particular attention to the development of screendance within it.

Insights into specific choreographic practices are observed, including studio-­‐based approaches, and thematic through lines.

Theoretical foundations and models are presented with an acknowledgement of phenomenological approaches, and an examination of phenomenology in Skinner Releasing Technique. The proposition of Skinner Releasing Technique as methodology for the creative process is explored, and techniques from visual art practices are emphasised. The differences and overlaps between Release and Releasing are examined, and there is debate of the possible challenges and limitations encountered as well as the future of contemporary dance as we move beyond post modernism. Dance and movement practices outside Skinner Releasing Technique that have been important are discussed.

A consideration of where the work sits in relation to the field is bought to light, and the work of contemporaries is observed. Important citations of the practice nd works are scrutinised. The contribution to knowledge that the work makes is offered, and specific elements of this are examined. These include the creation of novel artefacts through artistic outputs, the paradigm shift of dance technique into a creative methodology, and the intersections between dance and visual art.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorJill Journeaux (Supervisor) & Sara Reed (Supervisor)


  • Skinner Releasing Technique
  • Joan Skinner
  • screendance
  • somatic practices
  • Process
  • Release
  • dance and visual art

Cite this