• Access, inclusion and excellence : evaluating Stopgap Dance Company's IRIS programme

      Aujla, Imogen; Needham-Beck, Sarah; Stopgap Dance Company; University of Bedfordshire (Stopgap Dance Company, 2018-12-01)
      Among the numerous barriers to dance for disabled people, one of the key challenges in the UK has been the lack of progressive training routes for diabled dancers who wish to develop their talents.  Stopgap Dance Company sought to address this barrier by creating an inclusive talent development programme called IRIS.  Consisiting of four levels of increasing complexity, IRIS seeks to provide parity with mainstream training routes to help students progress their skills and confidence in dance. The aim of this research project was to evaluate IRIS in its first two years, while it was piloted with five groups.  The evaluation took into consideration the participants' experiences and outcomes of the programme using a longitudinal, mixed methods research design.
    • Accessing pathways to training for young disabled dancers

      Aujla, Imogen; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire/Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, 2019-03-19)
      The aim of this project was to investigate means of translating Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) syllabi for young disabled dancers. There are numerous barriers to dance for disabled people but one which has received increasing attention in recent years is the lack of systematic training available. Many non-disabled young people join private dance studios which provide an established progression route using staged syllabi and assessments in a range of dance genres. The ISTD recognised that this progression route should be more accessible for disabled young people, and that it could play a key role in opening pathways to dance. The organisation recruited a number of teachers and specialists, and commissioned a researcher from the University of Bedfordshire, to explore how this could be done.
    • Battling under Britannia’s shadow: UK jazz dancing in the 1970s and ‘80s

      Carr, Jane (Springer Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-03-31)
      UK Jazz dancing, that is the subject of this chapter, emerged in British clubs in the late 1970s. Drawing upon insights from intersectional and postcolonial theories, this subcultural development of jazz is examined to explore how attitudes to ‘race’, class and gender might be understood as embodied in the styles of dancing. By situating the dancing in relation to its historical context of often turbulent political, social and economic change, it is suggested that while the dancers were focussed on recognition on the dance floor, the dance challenges they participated in can be understood as sites within which young people not only battled against each other but with others to negotiate new British identities.
    • Developing potential amongst disabled young people: exploring dance artists’ qualities as educators in the context of inclusive dance talent development

      Urmston, Elsa; Aujla, Imogen; Stopgap Dance Company; University of Bedfordshire (Stopgap Dance Company, 2018-09-01)
      The aim of this research project was to better understand the values, attributes and practices of dance artists who develop the potential of disabled young dancers. Stopgap Dance Company commissioned researchers at the University of Bedfordshire to explore the range of qualities that highly experienced dance artists demonstrate in their practice, particularly in the context of dance talent development. In order to meet these aims, observations and interviews were conducted with six established contemporary dance artists who work in inclusive settings. Analysis revealed common characteristics in how and why artists go about their work with disabled people.
    • Diasporic experience and the archival process: reflections upon the initial phase of the Black Dance Archives project (UK)

      Baddoo, Deborah; Carr, Jane (2016-11-06)
      State of Trust has been funded to archive ‘collections from eminent individuals and organisations from the British Black dance sector’ (http://blackdancearchives.co.uk/). The Black Dance Archive may be considered as a ‘contingent, dynamic and transformative site’ (Heathfield 2012, 238) whose presence facilitates an historical ‘re-remembering’ (Bindas 2010). It stands as the site of negotiation between ‘Black British’ dance artists and the ‘archontic principle’ (Derrida, 1995) through which the archive retains the traces of a power that consigns documents to their place within a (dominant) signifying system.   Through a diaologic, reflective and trans-disciplinary process, we consider the role of the performance archive within the context of decolonisation. For those artists whose work is included, the transition of artefacts from private to public space marks a legitimization that nevertheless is fraught with the risk of appropriation. The archival process repeats previous tensions between hegemonic dance discourses and the artists’ aims to respond authentically to their lived diasporic experiences. The archive also marks a coming to terms with, even a mourning of, a past that for many of the artists was already shaped by a sense of loss. If, ‘the theory of psychoanalysis… becomes a theory of the archive and not only a theory of memory’ (Derrida 1995, p.18 ), can this archive be conceptualised and experienced in ways that allow for recognition of the lived trauma of diasporic experience while also celebrating how such experiences engendered new danced identities?  
    • The Dorothy Sharp Project : the possibilities of different geographies

      Carr, Jane; Sharp, Bruce (2017-04-10)
      A performative installation /workshop that is a development of a series of incarnations of work under the same title that have explored choreographies of basic postures and gestures. Posture, gesture and action can be thought of as providing tools to explore issues of identity, gender and sexualities This performative installation / workshop aims to provide tools for reflecting upon coded movement behaviours and to surface the human capacity to switch fluidly between them by using written prompts/guide/instructions -  a kind of ‘recipe’ – as guide for such ‘improvisations’.  Within a supportive space, aimed at promoting an environment of collective experience, drinks (non-alcoholic)  and nibbles will be on offer to help viewers to acclimatize to the café- like setting in which ‘a la carte’ movement ‘menus’ provide opportunities for participation. Viewers can become participants by selecting a ‘recipe’. After some easily accessible preparation, they enter the performing area to interpret the simple set of instructions (dish) to perform a short (2 minute) movement sequence. Alternatively they can elect to have a helper perform the chosen movement ‘recipe’.  Actions are lit and accompanied by sound as a means of providing for the ‘performance’ to be distanced from everyday experience in order to facilitate a freedom to play with movement without the fear of value judgments that may otherwise  inhibit behaviour. Simple theatre lighting sets the ‘performance’ space - e.g. a conventional profile light shuttered into a shape like rectangle or a circle. The sound score is tailored to each movement recipe: it aims not only to signal when to start and finish but to provide an environment in which everyday movement can be re-experienced.After each short ‘performance‘, there will be an opportunity for guided self -reflection and, if appropriate, a supported feedback process that facilitates the ‘performer’ to ask questions of their audience about how they witnessed their movement. Respondents will be guided to use non evaluative language in order to be supportive of fellow participants.      
    • Embodiment and digital interactivity : towards post human somatic practices

      Ashley, Tamara; Cherry, Rachel; Pell, Luke (Intellect, 2016-06-01)
      Editorial.
    • Independent dancers: roles, motivation and success research report

      Aujla, Imogen; Farrer, Rachel; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2016-01-01)
      The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences of independent dancers. We set out to gain a descriptive and analytical understanding of working life in the sector. We examined specific psychological factors such as motivation and self-definitions, and how these helped dancers in their careers. The term ‘independent dancer’ is commonly used within the UK dance industry to describe practitioners who work in multiple roles on freelance contracts. This approach to work enables dancers to engage with a range of dance communities, develop and apply diverse skills, and collaborate with multiple partners. Throughout this document we refer to such individuals as dancers or dance artists to represent those working in a range of roles and at a variety of levels. The independent dance sector is supported by an infrastructure of dance agencies that operate across the country to provide development opportunities and resources for independent dancers. It is estimated that around 40,000 people work in the UK dance industry, but the varied and ad hoc nature of their roles makes it challenging to quantify and describe the workforce accurately. In the past there have been several independent reports published about the sector as well as published interviews with renowned independent dancers that provide an insight into working conditions, rates of pay, infrastructures and funding, however with the industry developing so rapidly these sources are no longer current. More recently, doctoral research located within the independent sector has provided further insight into specific aspects of the dancers’ role. This, however, has focused specifically on artistic and choreographic concerns or is situated within a different geographical location. As a result, there is a lack of up to date knowledge about the UK independent dance sector meaning that this dynamic and mobile force still ‘works in relative invisibility’. Furthermore, academic research in the fields of professional practice, psychology and dance science has neglected to examine this important and continually developing part of the UK dance sector. Therefore, this research appears timely in order to provide current information about independent dancers and how they negotiate such a varied and challenging career. Although this research project has been disseminated in academic forums, the aim of this report is to inform dance artists, teachers and students of the findings in an accessible format.
    • ‘It’s my dream come true’: experiences and outcomes of an inclusive dance talent development programme

      Aujla, Imogen (Wiley, 2019-12-10)
      There are few opportunities for young disabled dancers to develop their talents, and even fewer studies investigating their experiences of such opportunities. The aim of this study was to explore the perspectives and outcomes of an inclusive talent development programme, and how these were facilitated. Semi‐structured interviews and focus groups with one teacher, four young dancers and four parents revealed that participation in the programme yielded multiple benefits for the young people involved. These included high levels of enjoyment, improved technical and creative ability, greater independence and confidence, and opportunities for socialising with like‐minded peers. A range of factors facilitated these benefits, such as the inclusive and caring ethos of the programme, its comprehensive development and teacher training, particular teaching strategies, and relationships between staff, students and parents. The study attests to the value of programmes designed for young disabled dancers who wish to develop their talents.
    • Passion, pathways and potential in dance: research report

      Redding, Emma; Nordin-Bates, Sanna; Aujla, Imogen; Trinity Laban (Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, 2011-01-01)
      Through a groundbreaking collaboration between Trinity Laban dance science researchers and the Centres for Advanced Training (CATs) across England, almost 800 young dancers took part in an interdisciplinary, longitudinal research project into dance talent development. Funded for a 3-year period by the Leverhulme Trust and the Department for Education, the research comprised investigations into the psychology, physiology, anthropometry, injury, adherence, and creativity of this talented cohort of young dancers. Our combination of quantitative and qualitative findings demonstrate that CAT dancers exhibited steadily increasing levels of physical fitness, high and stable levels of psychological well-being, low to moderate levels of injury and dropout, and positive creativity experiences. The CATs thus appeared to be nurturing young talent in an effective and healthy way. Findings are summarised under seven main headings.
    • The possibilities of different geographies

      Carr, Jane; Sharp, Bruce (Intellect, 2018-12-31)
      'The Possibilities of Different Geographies’ is the title of a dance work Jane Carr and Bruce Sharp  first created in 1997 that investigated the significance of human embodiment. Twenty years later they revisited the themes informing their earlier work in order to create a participatory performance-installation focused on the significance of the embodied dimensions of intersubjective experience.   The authors present the philosophical and political ideas underpinning their aims to challenge the boundaries that act as limits upon how humans experience their embodied identities and reflect on how, in developing the project, artistic and activist principles became interwoven. They describe the creation of movement scores for participants to perform and consider how elements of movement, sound, lighting and opportunities for reflection contribute to an environment that affords creative participation focused on the intercorporeal dimension of human geographies.  
    • Researching British (underground) jazz dancing c1979-1990

      Carr, Jane (Routledge, 2016-09-20)
      The concept of 're-remembering' (Bindas, 2010) informs my account of researching the  jazz dancing performed in clubs in Britain in the late 1970s and 1980s in which I reflect upon the findings of  my own interviews with jazz dancers and those published by the DJ’s  Mark (Snowboy) Cotgrove (2009) and Seymour Nurse (n.d. b). Further, drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and field (1984), I consider how jazz styles may be understood to have proposed new British dance identities within the changing cultural field of dance in postcolonial Britain. With specific reference to video recordings of Brothers in Jazz, IDJ and the Jazz Defektors, I explore this jazz dancing in the context of the social changes of the period 1979-1990, the era in which, under the government of Margaret Thatcher, economic and political changes took place that were (and still are) a source of much controversy. Here, Bourdieu’s analysis of cultural fields provides a useful framework from which to consider how differences in practices within an arena such as jazz dancing can be understood both in relation to each other and to a wider context. Finally, recognising how the synchronic and diachronic dimensions of experience and understanding intersect (Bourdieu 1993), and drawing on the words of dance artist Sean Graham, I consider how inclusion of British (Underground) jazz dancing (also known as UK jazz)  in the wider historical understanding of dancing in Britain is important to  the current ‘field’ of dance that is still coming to terms with the social, economic and cultural changes of the recent past.  
    • The role of psychological factors in the career of the independent dancer

      Aujla, Imogen; Farrer, Rachel; University of Bedfordshire (Frontiers, 2015-10-30)
      Previous research indicates that psychological factors such as motivation and mental skills play an important role in relation to performance and to negotiating talent development stages. However, little is known about these factors in dance, particularly with regard to the independent dancer whose career may involve multiple roles, varied work patterns, and periods of instability. The aim of this study was to explore dancers’ motivation to work in an independent capacity, and the extent to which dancers’ psychological characteristics and skills enabled them to navigate a career in this demanding sector. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 dancers at different stages of their careers. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and content analyzed. Analysis revealed that the dancers were intrinsically motivated and highly committed to the profession. Working in the independent sector offered dancers opportunities for growth and fulfillment; they appreciated the autonomy, flexibility and freedom that the independent career afforded, as well as working with new people across roles and disciplines. In order to overcome the various challenges associated with the independent role, optimism, self-belief, social support, and career management skills were crucial. The mental skills reported by the participants had developed gradually in response to the demands that they faced. Therefore, mental skills training could be invaluable for dancers to help them successfully negotiate the independent sector.
    • Somatic perspectives on developing an iPad app for choreography

      Ashley, Tamara (Intellect, 2016-06-01)
      The article offers insight into somatic perspectives that have informed the design of a software application for the iPad. Entitled formXtended, the app is designed to extend the compositional imaginations of users, by engaging them in choreographic tasks that integrate movement, sound and image. The project sought to develop an approach to software design that engaged with principles of inclusion and accessibility for disabled and non-disabled users. The article offers insight into some of the questions and issues addressed by the team in their endeavour to create inclusive app-based activities. The discussion articulates how somatic principles informed both app design stage and in the testing phase with young people, which led to further refinements in the app design. The somatic dimensions of the formXtended project are situated within a larger and more complex collaboration between arts organization, dancedigital, software company, Moviestorm and research partner, University of Bedfordshire.
    • Subjective wellbeing among young dancers with disabilities

      Aujla, Imogen; Needham-Beck, Sarah (Taylor & Francis, 2019-05-11)
      Little is known about the subjective wellbeing (SWB) of young dancers with disabilities and whether it changes over time. The aim of this study was to assess the SWB of young dancers with disabilities enrolled on an extracurricular inclusive talent development programme in the UK at two time points. Twenty-two young dancers completed the Personal Wellbeing Index for people with intellectual disability at the beginning of the academic year. Thirteen dancers completed the questionnaire a second time towards the end of the academic year. Scores were compared with normative values, and a Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was conducted to assess change over time. The participants reported high levels of SWB at both time points in comparison with normative values. There was no significant change in wellbeing scores over time. The study contributes to a growing body of literature suggesting that people with disabilities have high levels of SWB. Although causality cannot be assumed, inclusive dance programmes may contribute to SWB and allow young people with disabilities to overcome the barriers associated with physical activity.
    • Towards safeguarding Creole intangible cultural heritage : keynote at the Creole Fest: Building Bridges Across Borders Symposium 10 November 2018

      Weedon, Alexis (2018-11-21)
      In 2003 at the UNESCO general conference  voted in favour of the Convention on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. With the onslaught of globalization, ubiquitous and often commercialized branded identities can supplant the local. The UNESCO convention highlights the fragility of indigenous living cultural traditions and their importance for preserving diversity under such pressures. Intangible cultural heritage is a repository of a community’s creativity. It is a source of inspiration for new cultural expressions. This talk explores the intellectual work which the Convention brings to us as cultural historians, curators and researchers. It argues that we must address our unconscious bias in the selection of what we preserve, and must record all contextualising variables to assess their relevance. It reviews current research and its relevance to the AHRC networking project of safeguarding Creole ICH, and proposes a programme of research and publications, in addition to the continuation of the performance of the tradition that underpins ICH inscriptions as an agenda of any research network. Finally it highlights examples of digital classification, public participation, and creative re-presentation which document the ICH tradition and also seek to understand the factors that have sustained it and will influence its future as a living tradition.  
    • Understanding the independent dancer: roles, development and success

      Farrer, Rachel; Aujla, Imogen (Edinburgh University Press, 2016-11-01)
      Little research has been published about the varied role of the independent dancer. The aim of this study was to provide insight into the work independent dancers undertake and how their careers change over time. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 independent dancers. Content analysis revealed that the dancers had multifaceted careers that relied on both formal and informal activities, and varied according to three distinct stages (early, middle, late). The experiences reported by the dancers indicated that the realities of the independent dancer's role are not sufficiently recognised or supported within the industry.
    • Values, attributes and practices of dance artists in inclusive dance talent development contexts

      Urmston, Elsa; Aujla, Imogen (Taylor & Francis, 2019-09-17)
      There is a paucity of research focused on understanding the qualities which underpin dance artists’ practice in working with talented young dancers with disabilities. This study investigated what informs how dance artists work in inclusive dance talent development contexts. Four dance class observations were conducted to provide evidence of dance artists’ qualities in practice. Six dance artists participated in semi-structured interviews. Thematic data analysis revealed four categories: the dance persona; values; attributes; and practices of dance artists. The dance persona was typified by characteristics such as being human, humility, altruism, and confidence. Artists’ values and attributes included celebrating difference, aspiring towards equality and relationality. Their practices were exemplified by varied differentiation strategies and an emphasis on reflection. These findings provide new insight into what drives artists working with dancers with and without disabilities, and aids better understanding of best practice in this context.
    • Within- and between-person predictors of disordered eating attitudes among male and female dancers: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training

      Nordin-Bates, Sanna M.; Schwarz, Johanna F.A.; Quested, Eleanor; Cumming, Jennifer; Aujla, Imogen; Redding, Emma; Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences; Curtin University; University of Birmingham; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-07-09)
      Objectives This longitudinal study examined potential predictors of disordered eating attitudes (DEA) for male and female dancers, with a particular focus on whether environmental predictors (perceptions of task- and ego-involving motivational climate) added significantly to the prediction made by intrapersonal predictor variables (demographics/training, self-esteem, perfectionism). Methods and Design Young dancers (N = 597, 73.4% female, M = 14.69 years old, SD = 2.04) from UK Centres for Advanced Training completed questionnaires 1–5 times over a two-year period, depending on how long they were enrolled at their centre. Multilevel modelling was employed to examine both between- and within-person predictors of DEA. Results For females, lower self-esteem and higher perfectionistic concerns were significant between-person predictors of DEA. Increased levels of perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns were significant within-person predictors. For males, increased perfectionistic concerns and perceptions of the motivational climate as more task- and ego-involving were significant between-person predictors of DEA. No significant within-person predictors emerged. Conclusions Findings contribute to the literature on DEA in aesthetic activities and the debate concerning the (mal-)adaptiveness of perfectionistic strivings. They also raise questions about how environmental aspects should best be conceptualized and measured in studies of this type. In particular, however, results demonstrate that the predictors of DEA among males and females may not be the same, and suggest that future interventions may therefore need to be sex-specific.