Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The value of contact improvisation in academic dance program
by Kao, Pei-Ling, M.F.A., Mills College, 2010, 63; 1474972
Abstract (Summary)

I have solid physical training, and I have learned different styles of (classical) dance. But for me, CI fills the empty places my previous training in ballet and modern technique left open. I deeply fell in love with CI practice. Three years ago, I visited London for three months, where I took CI workshops with Kirstie Simson and Andrew Hardwood. I also participated in the CI 36 festival two years ago in Huntingdon, PA. From my own experience as a dancer, teacher and a dance maker, I see how positively learning and practicing CI has affected my dance career and my ability to express myself as an artist. More importantly, I believe in the great benefits students receive from solid physical training and the act of practicing CI both in performance and choreography.

It is critical to see CI historically and analyze its movement aesthetic as a dance technique. In order to shed light on why academic and conservatory dance programs should incorporate CI practice into the curriculum, it is essential to recognize the history, development of CI, and its relation to modern dance. I trace this lineage in my paper, emphasizing CI's movement style and using my personal experience of learning CI to explain the physical conflict between practice CI and more traditional dance techniques. I investigate the dance program of TNUA, the university where I received my BA in dance, as primary evidence to address the importance of CI in academic dance programs. In this investigation, I also examine how teachers and students alike may apply CI concept to other dance forms in the academic dance settings. I include interviews with contemporary CI practitioners at the end of the paper, to support my argument that CI should be incorporated into academic dance programs. The interviewees are current CI instructors in academic dance programs across the world: including Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Kirstie Simson; Associate Professor in the Dance College at Taipei National University of the Arts, Ming-shen Ku; Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Mills College, Linda K. Johnson; and alumna of University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Laura Chiaramonte and Renay Lynn.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Murphy, Ann, Johnson, Linda K.
Commitee: Johnson, Linda K.
School: Mills College
Department: Dance
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 48/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Dance, Performing Arts
Keywords: Academic dance program, Contact improvisation, Dance
Publication Number: 1474972
ISBN: 978-1-109-71506-4
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