Dance spectators can feel touched or moved by a performer even when they are literally sitting still and are not being physically touched. Across disciplines, this type of experience has been coined kinaesthetic empathy. Kinaesthetic empathy represents the ability to understand and share the feelings of the performer merely by observing their actions. The underlying cognitive and neuronal processes of kinaesthetic empathy have been studied extensively over the last twenty years. Thereby, novel non-invasive techniques showed spectators brains in action. As described by Daly, „dance, although it has a visual component, is fundamentally a kinesthetic art whose apperception is grounded not just in the eye but in the entire body“ (2002). This raises two issues: First, if dance is experienced in spectators‘ entire body, how much of kinaesthetic empathy can brain imaging studies reveal? Second, what are the specific circumstances under which dance is not just a visual (and ephemeral) art form and do current brain imaging studies acknowledge the conditions that actually allow kinaesthetic empathy to be experienced? The proposed contribution will present kinaesthetic empathy as a key concept in the interdisciplinary study of watching dance. Emphasis will be given to interdisciplinary research that acknowledges the presence of a narrative in dance spectating. The findings will be discussed in regards to potential effects of a narrative on spectators‘ neuronal and embodied responses. Possible reasons for the missing role of the narrative in neuroscientific research on watching dance will be exemplified with the aim of identifying objectives for future research.
|Number of pages||2|
|Publication status||Published - 24 Jun 2017|
|Event||11th Conference of the European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts: Empathies - University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland|
Duration: 20 Jun 2017 → 24 Jun 2017
|Conference||11th Conference of the European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts|
|Period||20/06/17 → 24/06/17|
Jola, C. (2017). Empathy for dance audiences: the missing role of the narrative in neuroscientific research. 88-89. 11th Conference of the European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, Basel, Switzerland.