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date: 21 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the twenty-first century, improvisation as a mode of performance has gained momentum in Western theatre dance. Yet its theorization remains challenged, not only by the ephemerality of the subject but also by the ways that its corporeal knowledges resist language and elude codification. This is because the practice does not comply with a dualistic hierarchy of ‘mind-over-matter’ but instead proposes body-mind unification as a core principle of the practice. Drawing from examination of the author’s own practice-based research, this chapter qualitatively examines a key methodology of improvised practice described as embodied consciousness. This chapter articulates how the bifurcation of embodied consciousness, as thinking-through-the-body and the body’s mind, can operate in an improvised performance and how it can be cultivated and refined through practice. Furthermore, it interrogates how the model for articulating composition needs reframing in an improvisational context, from a language based on formal logic to one based on attending to fluctuating, formless ‘intensities’.

Keywords: embodied consciousness, body-mind, improvisation, somatic practices, ideokinesis, thinking-through-the-body, the body’s mind, body-schema, kinaesthesia, affect

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