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date: 30 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay considers the concept of noticing in improvisational movement practices. It takes as its starting point the premise that the act of noticing is a conscious and active form of engagement, and interrogates this in relation to what and how dance artists notice in the moment of improvising. The essay then goes on to address the impact of this awareness on spontaneously composed movement material. It draws from the author’s experience of studying with leading improvisers, but the primary focus is on the author’s experience of working with American dance maker Deborah Hay in her 2011 Solo Performance Commissioning Project. Interviews with dance artists Simon Ellis and Matthias Sperling provide further in vivo perspectives in order to exemplify the significance of noticing in Hay’s performance practice.

Keywords: improvisation, noticing, spontaneous composition, Deborah Hay, consciousness

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