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date: 11 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Dancers and choreographers have developed numerous improvisation techniques to facilitate the real-time composition of movement sequences, from simple behavioural tasks, such as drawing imaginary figures with different parts of the body, to problem-solving tasks that require the dancer to translate a word or a phrase into movement. This chapter explores the science behind a number of improvisation techniques. Among other things, it will show how some familiar dance improvisation techniques have their roots in properties of the motor system. In addition, it will show how experimental findings from cognitive neuroscience and psychology may inspire novel improvisation techniques. The emphasis is on practical techniques that can be easily performed by dancers and nondancers alike. Ultimately, the chapter argues that dance improvisation requires not just an agile body but first and foremost an agile mind.

Keywords: dance, choreography, improvisation, neuroaesthetics, brain

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