Making Space for the Psychology of Creativity in Dance Science

Making Space for the Psychology of Creativity in Dance Science

Lucie Clements (Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, London, UK) and Rebecca Weber (Coventry University, London, UK)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJACDT.2018010103
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Creativity is commonly recognized as a complex phenomenon; one which entails a range of debates around definition, process and product, domain specificity, cross-discipline generalisability, and appropriate testing measures. The psychology of creativity appears to find a fitting home in dance science, a field concerned with understanding and enhancing dancers' health and performance. Yet dance psychology has been predominated by research which focuses on the mental processes underpinning optimal skill execution and technical performance. This paper outlines an argument for a greater focus on the creative demands of dance within dance science, highlighting some the challenges of, and barriers to, research in the psychology of creativity in dance, before making a number of recommendations to encourage the growth of this important research area.
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The current dance ecology sees the relationship between choreographer and dancer as blurred, with the choreographer no longer deemed the sole creative (Farrer, 2014). It is common within contemporary dance that dancers contribute to the development of movement material (Butterworth, 2004; Rowe & Smith, 2011), and in many contemporary practices, the hierarchical norm and dichotomous separation of dancer and choreographer is dissolved. As more dance professionals seek a portfolio career, dance education programmes emphasize the dual aims of developing technique and creativity (Bennett, 2009). Indeed, creativity is considered an important facet of talent in dance (Redding, Nordin-Bates & Walker, 2011). Thus, we argue that creativity is of relevance for all dance artists, and is a pertinent topic for dance science.

Despite its importance and the fact that dance is recognized as a creative activity, there is a lack of research on the psychology of creativity in the dancer's training and career. The relevance of inter- and intrapersonal, environmental, and situational psychology in achieving optimal creativity in dance is unknown. Unsurprisingly then, dance science is yet to recognize the dancer as a creative artist, and further still, to understand the relevance of creativity within the health and well-being of dancers. It is clear that there is a place for creativity research within dance science. Potential areas of investigation include:

  • The identification of creative talent

  • Understanding environments and teaching methods that nurture creativity

  • The relationship between technical ability and creativity

  • Dancer's understanding of their creativity

  • The impact of particular training forms such as somatics on creative ability

  • The possibility of training creative skills while a dancer is injured.

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