Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

A Dance to the Music of Time: Aesthetically-Relevant Changes in Body Posture in Performing Art

By Elena Daprati, Marco Iosa and Patrick Haggard

Abstract

In performing arts, body postures are both means for expressing an artist's intentions, and also artistic objects, appealing to the audience. The postures of classical ballet obey the body's biomechanical limits, but also follow strict rules established by tradition. This combination offers a perfect milieu for assessing scientifically how the execution of this particular artistic activity has changed over time, and evaluating what factors may induce such changes. We quantified angles between body segments in archive material showing dancers from a leading company over a 60-year period. The data showed that body positions supposedly fixed by codified choreography were in fact implemented by very different elevation angles, according to the year of ballet production. Progressive changes lead to increasingly vertical positions of the dancer's body over the period studied. Experimental data showed that these change reflected aesthetic choices of naïve modern observers. Even when reduced to stick figures and unrecognisable shapes, the more vertical postures drawn from later productions were systematically preferred to less vertical postures from earlier productions. This gradual change within a conservative art form provides scientific evidence that aesthetic change may arise from continuous interaction between artistic tradition, individual artists' creativity, and a wider environmental context. This context may include social aesthetic pressure from audiences

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2656638
Provided by: PubMed Central
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g... (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    Citations

    1. (1760) Lettres sur la danse et sur les ballets.
    2. (1892) L’Alphabet des Mouvements du Corps Humain.
    3. (1894) Experimentelle Unterschungen uber die Gefuhlsbetonung der Farben, Helligkeiten, und ihrer Combinationen.
    4. (1933). Aesthetic Measure. Harvard MA:
    5. (1951). Aesthetic preference for isosceles triangles.
    6. (1970). Aesthetische Theorie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, (translation London: Routledge
    7. (2004). An evaluation of differences in hip external rotation strength and range of motion between female dancers and non-dancers.
    8. (1968). An experimental study of aesthetic preference for polygonal figures.
    9. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure.
    10. (1997). Hip and ankle range of motion in elite classical ballet dancers and controls.
    11. (1988). Language and Problems of Knowledge.
    12. (2007). Motion, emotion and empathy in aesthetic experience.
    13. (1997). Psychology of art appreciation.
    14. (1990). Relationship of turnout to hip abduction in professional ballet dancers.
    15. (2006). Seeing or doing? Influence of visual and motor familiarity in action observation.
    16. (2007). Should I stay or should I go? How the human brain manages the trade-off between exploitation and exploration.
    17. (1977). Social Learning Theory.
    18. (2007). The golden beauty: brain response to classical and renaissance sculptures.
    19. (1992). The golden section has no special aesthetic attractivity.
    20. (1973). The language-as-fixed effect fallacy: A critique of language statistics in psychological research.
    21. (2006). The Mere Exposure Effect and Aesthetic Preference.
    22. (2006). The Power of Art.
    23. (1999). The Science of Art.
    24. (1976). The Selfish Gene.
    25. (1950). The story of art.
    26. (2008). Towards a sensorimotor aesthetics of performing art.

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.