In this paper we present a study of spectators’ aesthetic experiences of sound and movement in live dance performance. A multidisciplinary team comprising a choreographer, neuroscientists and qualitative researchers investigated the effects of different sound scores on dance spectators. What would be the impact of auditory stimulation on kinesthetic experience and/or aesthetic appreciation of the dance? What would be the effect of removing music altogether, so that spectators watched dance while hearing only the performers’ breathing and footfalls? We investigated audience experience through qualitative research, using post-performance focus groups, while a separately conducted functional brain imaging (fMRI) study measured the synchrony in brain activity across spectators when they watched dance with sound or breathing only. When audiences watched dance accompanied by music the fMRI data revealed evidence of greater intersubject synchronisation in a brain region consistent with complex auditory processing. The audience research found that some spectators derived pleasure from finding convergences between two complex stimuli (dance and music). The removal of music and the resulting audibility of the performers’ breathing had a significant impact on spectators’ aesthetic experience. The fMRI analysis showed increased synchronisation among observers, suggesting greater influence of the body when interpreting the dance stimuli. The audience research found evidence of similar corporeally focused experience. The paper discusses possible connections between the findings of our different approaches, and considers the implications of this study for interdisciplinary research collaborations between arts and sciences.
|Publication status||Published - 26 Apr 2014|
|Event||Cognitive Futures in the Humanities - Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom|
Duration: 24 Apr 2014 → 26 Apr 2014
Conference number: 2nd
|Conference||Cognitive Futures in the Humanities|
|Period||24/04/14 → 26/04/14|