Improvisational Artistry in Live Dance Performance as Embodied and Extended Agency

Dance Research Journal 46 (1):84-94 (2014)
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This paper provides an account of improvisational artistry in live dance performance that construes the contribution of the dance performer as a kind of agency. Andy Clark’s theory of the embodied and extended mind is used in order to consider how this account is supported by research on how a thinking-while-doing person navigates the world. I claim here that while a dance performer’s improvisational artistry does include embodied and extended features that occur outside of the brain and nervous system that this can be construed as “agency” rather than “thought.” Further I claim that trained and individual style accounts for how this agency acquires its artistic nature. This account thus contributes to the philosophy of improvisation in dance performance in a way that includes motor as well as cognized intentions.

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