Dancing bodies, sharing minds: an ecological approach to expert stage presence

Sarah Pini, John Sutton

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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    In Western culture, the concept of presence holds a cluster of different connotations. Theatrical and performance studies have generally focused on the intrinsic actor’s ability to impact audience’s attention or the mutual relationship with the audience. Is presence a state that our minds can regularly experience, or is a special condition that can be accessed only under very particular circumstances? What is the role played by a larger ecology that includes audiences, different performers and unusual environments, in shaping the experience and perception of presence? I investigate presence’s variations by tackling the phenomenon of stage presence, and I am developing a cognitive ethnography that addresses questions of embodied cognition in three different dance forms: Contemporary Ballet, in the case of the National Ballet of Marseille; Contact Improvisation, a duet-system based practice; and BodyWeather, a dance training originating from Butoh. By adopting a phenomenological approach, which requires a direct engagement with the different dance trainings and contexts of practice analysed, I tackle the diversity of the cognitive ecologies in which stage presence is understood and performed, addressing the variations in which embodied skills are enacted, and emphasize how different aesthetics and cultural factors shape habits, social cognition and perception of self.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2017
    EventAustralasian Skill Acquisition Network (ASAN) Conference - Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia
    Duration: 24 Nov 201726 Nov 2017


    ConferenceAustralasian Skill Acquisition Network (ASAN) Conference


    • stage presence
    • dance practice
    • ethnography
    • cognitive ecology
    • expertise
    • skill
    • performance contexts


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