Embodied Dance knowledge–
four perspectives

This edition of Nordic Journal of Dance: Practice, Education and Research invites the readers to an in-depth exploration of the contemporary narratives concerning bodily knowledge and deep educational experience. The Dance which is the object of interest takes place in several contexts and includes a variety of dance forms and expressions. The four articles we will present below focus on topics departing from breath and subjectivity, the silenced body of the gypsy and the beauty of (im)perfection, whereas the lastly mentioned theme interestingly is captured both from a researchers point of view (Østern’s research paper) and a choreographers perspective (Channells’ practical oriented paper). We admire the engagement the contributors have shown in their mutual efforts to share their knowledge, and hope the readers appreciate it and are eager to generate further discussion in their networks.

We have chosen Leena Rouhiainen’s Priming the Body: Breath as a Foundation for Exploring Ethical Performance Practice as an opening of this issue. She presents an artistic project as well as a teaching experiment aimed at enhancing the collaborative, creative and critical skills of MA students of dance and theatre pedagogy at the TEAK. Through the reading of the interview material gathered this article rigorously explores the cultivation of breathing applying phenomenologically oriented thought from Irigary and Klemola. As a tentative opening on the thematic that according to Rouhiainen requires further exploration, it also provides valuable insight in what breath can offer in producing and supporting the evolution of ethical artistic collaboration.

The second research article presents Diane Oatley’s field-work: Becoming Gypsy: Tell Me What the Body Knows in Flamenco Dance where the perceptions of women studying Flamenco dance in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, are investigated, and a «grey zone» is uncovered. The exposure to the dance-form and it’s culture both provide a possible revision of stereotypes which the reader may be surprised to discover remain on an unconscious level. She questions if the processes of «gypsy embodiment» unfold differently in the art form’s originary setting, making it highly relevant to Nordic practitioners. Does this represent other than mere exoticism? This question the article may offer some response to as well as offering a continuation of this topic of discussion in earlier issues of Nordic Journal of Dance. Thus, this research article brings these challenging and highly relevant questions of embodiment paired with exoticism to a well-informed theoretical discussion which argues the relevance to Johnsons’s theory of embodied cognitivism.

The context of the third and last research article ­The Dance Project «Perfect (im)Perfections» as a Deep Educational Experience of Plurality written by Tone Pernille Østern, is the Australian choreographer Philip Channells’ residency producing a dance performance Perfect(im)Perfections–stories untold, together with 20 different dancers, age 23 to 80, for a festival in Trondheim (2014) arranged by DansiT. In addition to freelance dancers, the participants were recruited from The Dance Laboratory and The Dance Theatre, and together with these dancers Channells explored the concept of beauty in dance. Following the production and performance processes, Østern focuses in this article on the learning experiences of these participants. Adapting a hermeneutic-phenomenological approach (van Manen 1990), Østern finds that despite being an art project, the participants experiences deep education, which involves a sense of one’s deep identity, concerning the whole person, in other words a deep educational experience of plurality.

From a choreographers perspective «Perfect (im)Perfections»–The Choreographer’s Reflections on the Creative Process by Philip Channells, this practice oriented article highlights the successes and challenges of working bilingually across hemispheres. Focusing on the creative processes of the performers, guided by his own reflections and experiences, this article captures a mosaic of dance, theatre and spoken word. In this article the nature and value of the collaboration, the performer’s commitment, the use of social media and the language barriers are discussed together with his thoughts around his own learning experience. Through this work Channels succeeds in uncovering a collection of unique stories and life experience, which appealed to how the performers inhabit their skin, their minds and their physical and emotional environments.


In addition to this current volume brimming with interesting research, the reader will find two book reviews, one conference review and an overview of a monograph. The first one is Riikka Korppi-Tommola’s Methodological Demonstrations in Finnish Dance Research and Decoding of Dancing Research which in addition to confirming the scope of Finnish dance research, offers a thorough, appreciative and reflective evaluation of this wide field of analysis. As well as highlighting Rouhiainen’s extensive overview of phenomenological research approaches, the review also proposes how dancing research texts can engage better with multimedia presentation formats. A question which may arise is if not this highly relevant contribution to the field of artistic research could be made accessible to a wider audience. In the second, Camilla Damkjaer’s review of Efva Lilja’s Research, Art, Empowerment – The Artist as Researcher sheds light on the core issues evolving around the topic of artistic research, and to the readers both inside academia as well as those on the outside, it offers a valuable interpretation of how Lilja distinguishes between the arts, politics and political art. An important gesture which can keep the field navigating within the mechanisms of art markets and international educational politics, this book of ideas and manifesto for the importance of art and artistic research in society may also remind us how the field of dance bears relevance to a cross-disciplinary enquiry. Following up the theme of artistic research, which was the main topic of the NOFOD conference Expanding Notions held in Reykjavik May 2015, it also gave the opportunity for a contribution from Iceland. The editor therefore requested Magnusdottir, Sture Iversen and Lyche Campos to initiate what in the future might be a valuable source of documentation. Those of the readers who are eager to keep updated on the current «State of the Art» of Nordic dance research will appreciate a short review of the main keynotes as well as two of the many engaging lecture demonstrations. Eeva Anttila gives an overview of the important topic of dance and embodied learning and the many skills can be generated through this. Through the publication of the monograph «The Entire School Dances!» The Possibilities of Embodied Learning in a School Context, the main aim is to keep the discussion going. Based on a school-project held at Kartanonkoski School, Vantaa in 2009–2013, the study leans on collaborative action research and communicative evaluation research, providing an example of the versatile learning experiences dance and embodied learning have generated within this school community. In this particular issue we are also offering a gift voucher with 20 percent discount, which is an excellent chance to delve into a general overview of writers across the globe who reflect, comment on and share their expertise and experiences in Dance Education Around the World.

We experience an increasing interest for the journal both in its paper edition as well as online and are glad to register more contributions of both practice and research oriented articles. Having that said, we still encourage you to use this opportunity for sharing your work with other dance practitioners and researchers working in the Nordic context. Since all of this current issue’s articles have been written in English, we will appreciate more future contributions in the native Nordic languages. We remind all the readers that the journal can only develop and be a forum of discussion with your participation. We continuously work to develop the accessibility and visibility of the journal, and are proud to announce that we have been accepted as members of The Norwegian Society of Journals. We look forward to new possibilities this may generate.

Finally, before inviting you to turn the page and leaving you to absorb this issue of Nordic Journal of Dance we would like to give a special thanks to the important effort which we all can appreciate due to our excellent pool of peer-reviewers, which has expanded over the years. We all know what importance you have in maintaining the high level of quality of this journal.

Kristine Høeg Karlsen

Corinne Lyche Campos
Editorial Secretary



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