The Kinesemiotic Body: a pragmatic account of the local discourse organisation of dance

The Kinesemiotic Body project brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers with the aim of evaluating whether a description of dance discourse informed by multimodal discourse analysis and visualised through enriched videos can capture the way dance communicates through a flow of choreographed sequences in space, and whether this description can support the interpretative process of nonexpert audiences.

Our theoretical framework will be based on an extended dynamic theory called segmented discourse representation theory (SDRT) and on the Functional Grammar of Dance Movement created by PI Maiorani, thus leveraging the work carried out on a previous project funded by Loughborough University Calibre programme for priority research areas, which also included the collaboration of Co-I Zecca and Lock and collaboration with the English National Ballet. The project will also leverage on previous work carried out by Bremen PI Bateman and his team on developing a SDRT-based framework for analysing movement-based communication.

The project will first develop a descriptive framework for analysing how dance creates meaning through structured movement in interaction with the space that surrounds it; the framework will then be used to enrich video materials capturing dance sequences performed by an English National Ballet dancer with a special set of discursive labels; the effectiveness of these video annotations will then be tested on sample audiences of non-experts to understand whether and how the labels support the audiences' interpretation of the dance sequences.

The development work and the testing will be carried out over 24 months by the Loughborough and Bremen teams according to a series of specific workpackages leveraging off the diverse areas of disciplinary strength of the team members as well as those members strong experience in interdisciplinary cooperative research.

International dissemination and outreach will be maintained via a website and the publication of papers at a disciplinarily-diverse range of international conferences, together with a final workshop at the London campus of Loughborough University involving international invited speakers and the involvement of prospective non-academic partners to explore further research developments and collaborations.

Our long-term goal is to develop an interdisciplinary area of research focusing on movement-based communication that can extend beyond the study of dance to other movement-based forms of communication and performance and inform foster the creation of partnerships between the academia and the institutions that host and promote such disciplines.


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