• 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.
    • Book review: Joanna Dee Das, Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora

      Carr, Jane (Edinburgh University Press, 2019-05-31)
      Review of Katherine Dunham Dance and the African Diaspora Joanna Dee Das, Oxford University Press, 2017 9780190264871
    • Dance Digital Education APP

      Ashley, Tamara; Vom Kothen, K.; NESTA (NESTA, 2015-12-31)
      Report on the creation and testing phases of the dancedigital education app that was funded by Arts Council and NESTA
    • Dance, diaspora and the role of the archives: a dialogic reflection upon the Black Dance Arcives Project (UK)

      Carr, Jane; Baddoo, Deborah; University of Bedfordshire; State of Emergency Productions (Edinburgh University Press Ltd, 2020-05-01)
      The Black Dance Archives project collected materials that record the activities of black British artists who created and performed dance predominantly in the later years of the twentieth century. Through the form of a dialogue we bring the perspective of the dance producer who led the project together with a more academic interest in the potential of the materials collected to contribute to dance research. Our shared reflections reveal how a focus on archiving the work of dance artists of diasporic heritage emphasizes that dance, as a form of intangible cultural heritage, is particularly vulnerable to becoming lost to future generations. This leads to reflections upon the role of dance archives within the context of post-colonial Britain that brings to the fore some of the complexities of the archival process and the significance of how this project resulted in materials being dispersed across different institutions.
    • Dancing brains: dance as a key motivator for success in mathematics

      Pugh, Kathryn; University of Bedfordshire (2018-08-01)
      A growing body of research supports the notion that dance enhances cognitive function as well as providing an enjoyable means of learning, as evidenced by recent news items and experiments such as that of Professor Michael Duncan of Coventry University as shown in the recent BBC documentary ‘The Truth About Getting Fit’ (BBC 50:43-57:00) where dance was declared “unusually beneficial” (Michael Mosley, 50:47) for the brain. Lynnette Overby, Beth Post and Diane Newman espouse the “bodies-on” nature of interdisciplinary dance stating that dance is: Uniquely suited to support conceptual learning because the dance vocabulary is expressed in terms of the body, space, time, and force – concepts also fundamental to understanding the universe (2005, Preface xi). Other scholars such as Anne Watson, Anne Green-Gilbert (BrainDance) and Eric Jensen, and on-going programmes such as Learning Through the Arts and Project Zero support the notion that dance is beneficial for the mind and useful as a means of interdisciplinary learning. In addition, neuroscience research shows that 85% of learners are predominantly kinesthetic learners (Jensen, 2010) and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities agrees that there are: Documented significant links between arts integration models and academic and social outcomes for students, efficacy for teachers, and school-wide improvements in culture and climate (PCAH 2011 in Wheeler and Bogard 2013, p.4). In my action research project carried out in Primary Schools in Canada, using a quasi-experimental approach and pre-/post data, it was clear that the increase in motivation to learn, along with increase in attainment was evident with students also enjoying both subjects more than they anticipated or experienced prior. In this paper, therefore, I will explore the notion of an equal interdisciplinary partnership of dance and mathematics that increases motivation and enhances learning in both subjects.
    • 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.
    • Development of a performance evaluation tool to track progress in an inclusive dance syllabus

      Needham-Beck, Sarah; Aujla, Imogen (Routledge, 2020-03-30)
      The lack of systematic training available for young dancers with disabilities has previously presented a barrier for those wishing to develop their skills and pursue a career in dance. Recently, a number of initiatives have launched to help bridge this gap; however, currently no established assessment measures exist that are sensitive to the needs of young dancers with disabilities while providing evidence of their competencies. The aim of this study was to develop a performance evaluation tool to allow tracking of progress in technique and performance skills in young dancers with a range of physical and/or intellectual disabilities. The tool allows scoring on a Likert-type scale on eleven criteria, including control of movement, coordination, spatial awareness, timing and rhythm, and surface or partner work. Six dancers were filmed during classes to allow retrospective evaluation of their performance by four judges. Intra-Class Correlation Coefficients (ICCs) for inter-rater and test–retest reliability demonstrated good reliability. Inconsistencies in scoring reduced and ICCs strengthened when trial one was removed from analysis; therefore, a familiarisation trial is recommended for future uses of this tool. Overall, this appears to be a reliable tool for evaluating elements of dance technique and performance in young dancers with disabilities.
    • 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 : shifting embodied identities

      Carr, Jane; Sharp, Bruce (2016-07-30)
      Interactive performance installation. Working with the artist Bruce Sharp, we have devised a workshop/performance installation that aims to facilitate short explorations of embodied identities.We consider that posture, gesture and action can be thought of as providing tools to explore issues of identity, gender and sexualities as (re)presented to others through the performative actions of the subject. The work  interrogatse (un)conscious kinaesthetic choices made by the conventional binary identified that can be opened up to flux by a fluid non-binary identified subject. The work thus aims to provide tools for reflecting upon coded movement behaviour and to surface the human capacity to switch fluidly between them by using written prompts/guide/instructions -  a kind of ‘dish’ – as guide for such ‘improvisations’.
    • 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.      
    • Dynamics of rest: more reflections on somatic practice, pain and resting

      Ashley, Tamara (2020-09-21)
      I am going to look at the dynamics of rest in embodied practice. In particular, I look at the interplay between doing and not doing in somatic practice, in pain and trauma contexts. My reflections are situated in my practice as a yoga, dance and somatic teacher.
    • ECITE 2018 in Belgium

      Ashley, Tamara; European Contact Improvisation Teacher Exchange (Contact Collaborations, 2019-01-01)
      Report for the main journal in the field on the event where I was given a funded place to attend in order to document and report on the event.
    • Embodiment and digital interactivity : towards post human somatic practices

      Ashley, Tamara; Cherry, Rachel; Pell, Luke (Intellect, 2016-06-01)
      Editorial.
    • Flow in the dancing body: an intersubjective experience

      Douse, Louise Emma (Oxford University Press, 2017-10-02)
      This chapter is situated in research on flow which explores optimal experience from the context of positive psychology, as it was first expounded by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It develops a theory of flow in dance improvisation which draws on the eudaimonic concept of wellbeing. Drawing on the writings of phenomenologist’s Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Martin Heidegger, the chapter makes links between Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow and the defining characteristics of eudaimonia such as personal expressiveness, self-realization, excellence and relatedness. The chapter draws on case-study research which proposes a methodology for engaging with the dancer’s experience of flow. The chapter focusses on the use of dialogic tasks within the choreographic process to develop an understanding of the dancer’s experience of flow. Further, the research employs the method of ‘reflexive embodied empathy’ developed by psychotherapist Dr. Linda Finlay. As a method, it involves a process of hermeneutic reflection for understanding the experience of the participant while enabling an examination of the researcher’s intimate role in the construction of that interpretation. As a result, this chapter articulates flow as an example of intersubjective experience, and specifically as an example of relatedness, as defined in wellbeing research. It is argued, flow enables the researcher/spectator to connect to, act into, and merge with the experience of the dancer, informing both their understanding of the dancer’s wellbeing and their own wellbeing in the moment of observation. Flow thus offers a perspective of wellbeing that enhances the spectator/dancer relationship.
    • Frogz : PCE lesson plan

      Hunwick, Kathie; Pugh, Kathryn (2004-08-15)
      Lesson plan for Kindergarten to Grade 2 for dance in Physical Education.
    • The impact of an intergenerational dance project on older adults' social and emotional well-being

      Douse, Louise Emma; Farrer, Rachel; Aujla, Imogen; ; University of Bedfordshire (Frontiers, 2020-09-16)
      There has been strong interest in intergenerational arts practice in the United Kingdom since the 1980s; however, there is a generally weak evidence base for the effectiveness of intergenerational practice regardless of the domain. The aim of this study was to investigate the outcomes of an intergenerational arts project on participants’ social and psychological well-being using a mixed-methods, short-term longitudinal design. Generations Dancing brought together community artists with students (n = 25) and older adults (n = 11) living in Bedford. Over an 11-week period, participants worked together to produce a new dance performance and photography exhibition. Focus groups were conducted with the participants to explore their feelings about the collaboration across generations and communities. Participants also completed a battery of questionnaires preproject and postproject, to assess any change in their levels of well-being. Results indicate that the older adults showed increased confidence and willingness to connect with others; they got immense enjoyment from talking about their experience with others. Furthermore, the project helped to address negative stereotypes that the older adults had of working with the young people. The older adults enjoyed the students’ company and felt encouraged and supported by the young people. While a small number of challenges were identified, including difficulties in traveling to the workshops for vulnerable participants, most challenges were overcome through the older adults’ engagement in the project. For example, initial anxieties regarding the performance seemed insufficient to affect the participants’ overall enjoyment of the project. The findings were supported by the increased scores in relatedness, affect, and social well-being over time, but were not statistically significant. The results of this study indicate that intergenerational dance and arts projects can have wide-reaching positive impacts on both social and psychological well-being. However, there were a number of methodological challenges, including difficulty in recruiting sufficient numbers of both experimental and control groups for a robust quantitative evaluation of the data. These challenges highlight that “real life” settings and scenarios can influence the amount, nature, validity, and reliability of data collected. Going forward we encourage researchers to continue to consider innovative ways to address such methodological challenges.
    • Improvisation and the Earth: dancing in the moment as ecological practice

      Ashley, Tamara (Oxford University Press, 2019-04-09)
      In the chapter, I draw upon artistic practice research to discuss the construction of improvisation scores as a deeply site-sensitive, time-sensitive and person-sensitive process that leads to the construction of specific micro-relations that connect specific practitioners to specific places on the earth. These micro-relations manifest as mindful actions in the detailed cultivation of the earth as a score, where the artists can become concerned with the relational dimensions of their actions in terms of sustainability. I propose that the cultivation of mindfulness and explicit intention of each and every gesture as a contribution to the cultivation of the earth as score is where the ethical work of the artists resides. The chapter offers a broad, questioning and critical perspective on how the practices of improvisation might contribute to the development of a future dance ecology that is both sustainable and inter-connected. Dance improvisation is thus proposed as an activist and applied practice that enables the experiential examination of ecologically sensitive relations, and I assert that the future of the dance ecology is entwined with how we relate to and embody the places in which dance is made.