Dance Practice Studies
A research on the epistemology of modern dance practices

ABSTRACT: Since the last two decennia the knowing in, of, and through dance stirs the academic and aesthetic disciplines, as various scholars and theorists are articulating more precisely series of relations between dance research and practice. Dance Practice Studies articulates such conceptual and philosophical framework. Dance Practice Studies is not established as such. It is a practice-based research in dance studies that focuses on articulating dance epistemology. By researching in this conceptual frame, I make the social nature of dance epistemology more insightful. The research findings reflect on the nature of a dance practice-based epistemology through perspectives that root in the practice theory of Theodore Schatzki and Laurent Thévenot; and in the social practice theoretical approach of Barry Barnes and Ann Swidler. In the first chapter, I propose the dance idiom as an epistemic device that allows for a “way of thinking” inside the practice. I explain the differing functions of the idiom (expressive and cognitive) that co-construct the meaning of the dance practice. The second chapter looks at the construction of modern dance pedagogy as an epistemic dance activity. Furthermore, I address didactic strategies that stimulate the interdependency of students, and cross-examine four American modern dance curricula. The last chapter is an inquiry of modern dance practice-cultures. It is a research on the anchoring and conditioning of modern dance practitioners in modern culture.

KEYWORDS: dance studies, dance epistemology, practice-based research, practice theory, modern dance history.

Promotor: Prof. Dr. Timmy De Laet

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