An investigation into the nature and development of dance consciousness in choreography and performance
The dancer's consciousness is an integral component of choreography and performance, but has been afforded little significant attention within dance theory or practice. This thesis aims to investigate the nature of the dancer's consciousness and it develops a model which allows dancers to access particular conscious states in choreography and performance. This model is entitled the Dance Consciousness Model. The model is founded on consciousness theory and, within it, two states of dance consciousness have been defined: intrattentive consciousness and non-intrattentive consciousness. These are based on the states of consciousness described by consciousness researchers, dance theorists and practitioners and theatre theorists. The Dance Consciousness Model comprises methods for examining and accessing the dance consciousness. During the formulation of these methods a variety of theories and practices were explored: phenomenological reduction, the explicitation session, somatics, sport psychology, visual and verbal processing, attention studies, Buddhist Introspection and Bodyweather. Relevant components were extracted from each theory and practice and applied to the discipline of dance. This resulted in the development of a series of methods for examining and accessing states of intrattention and non-intrattention. These methods were explored, by trained dancers, in three empirical projects which comprised exploratory workshops, choreographic and rehearsal processes and performances. The projects were recorded on video and the dancers were interviewed at regular intervals. The analysis of the information collected was combined with the consciousness theory established at the start of the study and resulted in the formulation of a consciousness training programme and the Dance Consciousness Model. The training precedes the application of the model and comprises a series of workshops in which dancers are taught to access, examine and switch between states of intrattention and non-intrattention. The Dance Consciousness Model is believed to be the first of its kind and is intended for application by dancers in the choreography and performance of contemporary dance.