Practising Research, Researching Practice: Thinking Through Contemporary Dance

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Sally May Gardner


Practice as research is now an accepted mode whereby artists can obtain a higher degree in our universities. But what conditions pertain for them there? Daily experiences of the misfit between the university, particularly in its current corporate guise, and the embodied practices upon which I draw have helped me, paradoxically, to clarify certain dance values which can perhaps have wider resonance. These values relate to concepts and ideas that can be found articulated by many practising artists and a number of other thinkers and practitioners including Winnicott, Alexander and Arendt. Focusing on here and now practicalities and issues, such as the nature of the studio floor, this article explores and argues for the importance of aesthetic experience and attention to life as we are living it: to experience, paradox, action, and sensation.

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Author Biography

Sally May Gardner, Deakin University

Sally Gardner is a lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University, Melbourne. She performs as an occasional guest artist with Russell Dumas' Dance Exchange; is a co-editor of Writings on Dance journal; and is a regular contributor to local and international arts and humanities forums and publications.