Gesturing across the divide: unities and disunities in music-dance pieces

Minors, Helen Julia (2011) Gesturing across the divide: unities and disunities in music-dance pieces. In: Moving Music / Sounding Dance: Intersections, Disconnections, and Alignments between Dance and Music. The Annual Conference of the Congress on Reseach in Dance and the Society for Ethnomusicology; 17 - 20 Nov 2011, Philadelphia, U.S.. (Unpublished)


How and indeed where do music and dance meet, exchange, communicate and interact? With reference to conceptual integration networks (CIN) drawn on cognitive science and discussions of mirror neurons (Zbikowski, 2008, forthcoming), I challenge the role of gesture in creating music-dance works in the moment. The live composing sign language, Soundpainting, offers one way of guiding the creation of music and dance in real time. The language, and/or creative process, is based on a premise that both musicians and dancers, and both choreographers and composers, share a gestural language. How does this language function and does it meaningfully cross the audio-visual? How do we perceive, process and respond to these creative gestures in performance? Examples are drawn from recent Soundpaintings led by Walter Thompson, recorded in New York. Additionally, I examine the creative process and cognitive perception of creating music-dance via interview material (Paris, 2011), questionnaire (Kingston, 2010) and collaborative recollection (London, 2008), which I conducted for a video recording and artist’s residency with the international artist and creator of Soundpainting, Walter Thompson.

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