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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the perspective of sword dance judges at the Dancing England Rapper Tournament. Using a form of video-assisted interview, strategies and patterns of adjudication and aesthetic evaluation are revealed as constituting different fundamental understandings of dance, shared by groups of judges and related to cultural and dance backgrounds. The content and timing of judges’ comments about rapper dances are charted, creating “temporal-aesthetic maps” that are used to reveal underlying cultural conceptions of the performance by comparing “aesthetically dense” moments with unmarked periods of time. This methodology allows the act of adjudication to be divided into four separate processes: expectation-setting, perception, interpretation, and decision-making, by which judges transform an ephemeral, aesthetic experience into scores for competitors.

Keywords: competition, sword dance, aesthetics, judging, video-assisted interview, temporal-aesthetic mapping, perception

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