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Stage Presence in Dance: A Cognitive Ecological Ethnographic Approach

IMC Tuesday Seminar: Talk by Sarah Pini, Assistant Professor, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark

Info about event


Tuesday 18 April 2023,  at 11:00 - 12:30


Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, 8000 Aarhus C, building 1483, room 312 and online (https://aarhusuniversity.zoom.us/my/imcevent)

Sarah Pini

The concept of presence in Western culture informs a cluster of different connotations, encompassing metaphysical, existential, psychological, cognitive, and performative dimensions (Heidegger, 1996 [1927]; Merleau-Ponty, 2012 [1945]; Derrida, 1997 [1967]; Clark, 1997; Noë, 2012). Here I focus on the concept of stage presence in different dance and performance practices. The classic model of stage presence broadly relates to the performer’s individual quality to enchant audience’s attention, and by focusing primarily on the agency of the skilled performer, it neglects audience’s participation (Sherman, 2016). Scholars who adopted an enactive and phenomenological perspective (Pini 2021; Pini 2019; Sherman, 2016; Zarrilli, 2009, 2012; Macneill, 2014) have tackled this classic view, revealing and accounting for the complexities of such encounter. Through a cognitive ecological and ethnographic approach (Hutchins, 1995, 2010) I investigate variations of presence in different dance practices and choreographic contexts: the case of the Ballet National de Marseille and the re-creation of Emio Greco’s piece Passione (Pini and Sutton, 2021), improvising together and interkinaesthetic agency in Contact Improvisation (Deans & Pini, 2022; Pini, McIlwain & Sutton, 2016); environmental attunement and ecological agency in Body Weather, a radical movement ideology informing the short dance film AURA NOX ANIMA by Palestinian-Australian visual artist Lux Eterna (Pini, 2022; Pini & Deans 2021). By exploring how dancers articulate their lived experience of presence, and how different dance ecologies shape different enactments of presence, I suggest adopting an ecological notion of stage presence in dance and performing arts.

About the speaker
Sarah Pini
Assistant Professor
Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Research Unit of Movement, Culture and Society
University of Southern Denmark

Free of charge - All are welcome to attend