Presentation Title

Movement-Improvisation Across the Lifecycle

Abstract

Drawing from the fields of dance and anthropology, my research examines how movement-improvisation is used by older dancers to sustain participation in Vermont’s arts, education, and performance community. Using interviews and shared movement practices with Vermont dancers, I explore how movement-improvisation provides an opportunity to reframe ability, particularly in the conversation of older bodies. I will present my findings on the interaction of age and improvisation as discussed and embodied by these practitioners. Additionally, this research informs my ongoing performance project at the University of Vermont. Age and aging are perceived and handled differently across cultures. In the United States, older bodies are often excluded from participating in dance performance. Existing scholarship illustrates the necessity for the consideration of cultural and contextual variations in age and performance. Current literature recognizes the power of movement-improvisation to create age-critical narratives in performance and calls for the restructuring of ageist constructs embedded in Western society. My interdisciplinary research provides a holistic understanding of how improvisation serves older practitioners’ navigation of age-centric cultural structures present in the United States. It contributes to a wider pedagogical and performative tapestry, adding to the foundation for future inquiry of dance and age in different cultural contexts.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Deborah Blom

Secondary Mentor NetID

pbesaw

Secondary Mentor Name

Paul Besaw

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Dance

Primary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

Second College (optional)

College of Arts and Sciences

Second Program/Major

Anthropology

Secondary Research Category

Social Sciences

Tertiary Research Category

Vermont Studies

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Movement-Improvisation Across the Lifecycle

Drawing from the fields of dance and anthropology, my research examines how movement-improvisation is used by older dancers to sustain participation in Vermont’s arts, education, and performance community. Using interviews and shared movement practices with Vermont dancers, I explore how movement-improvisation provides an opportunity to reframe ability, particularly in the conversation of older bodies. I will present my findings on the interaction of age and improvisation as discussed and embodied by these practitioners. Additionally, this research informs my ongoing performance project at the University of Vermont. Age and aging are perceived and handled differently across cultures. In the United States, older bodies are often excluded from participating in dance performance. Existing scholarship illustrates the necessity for the consideration of cultural and contextual variations in age and performance. Current literature recognizes the power of movement-improvisation to create age-critical narratives in performance and calls for the restructuring of ageist constructs embedded in Western society. My interdisciplinary research provides a holistic understanding of how improvisation serves older practitioners’ navigation of age-centric cultural structures present in the United States. It contributes to a wider pedagogical and performative tapestry, adding to the foundation for future inquiry of dance and age in different cultural contexts.