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The meanings of a modern dance: an investigation into the communicative properties of a non-verbal medium

By Nadra Majeed Assaf


Communication in all its various forms has one common goal: expressing and deciphering ideas. Education in recent years has taken a move towards more global approaches to learning/teaching. Within this context, more innovative and inclusive methods of communication need to be created. This study investigated the meaning-form connections in a modern dance experiment. Based on a poem, a dance was created and then performed for various audiences. Responses were recorded through survey and focus group interviews; and analyzed based on grounded theory (Strauss and Corbin, 1998; Charmaz, 2006). GT analysis coupled with hermeneutic constructivism offered an instructive and inclusive means of looking at the data. The results of the analysis along with inductive reasoning led to the result of six categories through which modern dance produces meaning and audiences decipher meaning from modern dance: Conflict Resolution, Personal Experience/Trait, Linguistic Structures, Abstract Concepts, Compatibility, and Technical Ability. The last stage of the study looked at a constructivist communication model “ecology of meanings model”, utilized its basic concept to build a communication for modern dance, and configured the newly found categories within it. My aim in this thesis project is to shed light on the manner in which a non-verbal means of communication, namely dance, is used to convey a message. The end result is a prototype of a possible communication model for modern dance which could afford choreographers/dancers/dance educators/dance spectators the ability to understand not only what modern dance means but also how. By illuminating this process, I hope that dance and communication experts will be able to enhance their educational procedures

Topics: constructivism, Hermeneutics, grounded theory, dance, choreography
Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7700

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