Placing knowledge in the body
McKenzie, V. (2017), Placing knowledge in the body: Western Australian choreographers dancing With a Bullet. Brolga: an Australian journal about dance 41, Braddon, ACT.
This research investigates the studio processes of seven Western Australian choreographers to develop case studies that unpack the memories, emotions, and sensations that illuminate creative decision making in experts. These dance professionals participated in Natalie Cursio’s With A Bullet: The Album Project (2006-7; 2013-4) that invites them to recall the first song to which they ever ‘made up a dance’, and to use this piece of music as a springboard for, and soundtrack to, a new piece of choreography. The study uses qualitative measures of phenomenological and somatic modes of attention to examine choreographic cognition, with a focus on ‘knowing how’, and other manifestations of ‘feeling’ that a decision is ‘right’, in order to illuminate creative decision making in choreography. I use the choreographers’ memories, emotions, and sensations to interpret their strategies for problem solving in the complex physical, emotional and social space of the studio. Memories and knowledge can take the form of tacit understandings performed during the process of transmission from choreographers to dancers, offering alternative ways of knowing and articulating creative processes.