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Developmental passages to dance improvisation: an interpretive phenomenological study of lived and living conscious experiences
Research in Dance Education  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-01-12, DOI: 10.1080/14647893.2021.1873262
Motohide Miyahara, Brigit Mirfin-Veitch

ABSTRACT

This article presents a phenomenological study on lived and living conscious experiences of improvisational dance. Six experienced improvisational dancers and one dance piano accompanist were interviewed individually, and shared the past-lived experience of improvisational dance. After the interviews, the six dancers agreed to perform solo improvisational dance, which was video-recorded and immediately followed up by another individual interview to comment on the current living experience, while watching the recorded video. Transcribed interviews were analyzed from an interpretative phenomenological framework, and three major themes were identified: (a) spontaneous-free expression as a definitive theme; (b) inhibitory self-conscious state of mind and emotion; (c) reaching the aspirational level of improvisation in synchronicity. The dancers in this research experienced improvisational dance as a break away from the dynamic tension between freedom and inhibition, guided by images and stimuli. When the dancers reached the aspirational level of improvisation, they felt that the mind and body were united at the individual level, and that the dancers were in harmony with other dancers at the group level. Developmental theories of self-conscious emotions and phenomenological theories of attention and consciousness were used to interpret participants’ experiences in developmental journeys towards free, spontaneous expression in synchrony.