Document Type

Original Creative Work


Australian Dance Council - Ausdance WA


School of Arts, Regional and Professional Studies / ECU South West Research Centre




This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of: McKenzie, V. (2014).A visceral kind of understanding, dancewest, pp.18-19. Access information on publisher here.


Background: The work is an artists’ profile of Michael Whaites published in dancewest, the WA edition of the Australian Dance Council magazine. Whaites is Artistic Director of LINK, WAAPA’s graduate dance company. I was invited to contribute the piece to fit with the education theme of the edition. It draws on my case study of Whaites to show how embodied knowledge and physical sensation inform his current choreographic process, and the transmission of this knowledge. As a dancer and researcher I use archival, field research and self-reflection to ask: how do we make creative processes explicit when they’re embedded in task-oriented studio processes?

Contribution: I was invited to contribute a series of artists’ profiles to dancewest. The research draws on findings in my Early Career Researcher project Moving Knowledge that investigates the creative methodologies of key WA choreographers. Creativity studies are informed by psychology and cognitive science but embodied knowledge is neglected. I address this gap by interpreting Whaites’ articulation of his processes using phenomenology, seeking evidence of somatic modes of attention and embodied imagery. Findings are being shared with researchers working on AusStage Phase 5, ARC LEIF funded research.

Significance: The work is an early articulation of an ongoing investigation. Findings were shared in a paper presented at the International Federation of Theatre Research conference (Warwick, 2014). My case study of Michael Whaites will be deepened in 2015 with follow up interviews and observation of his studio methods in the development of a LINK work. Each artist profile published in dancewest has garnered positive feedback and interest from the professional community.

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