Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Dr Maggi Phillips

Second Advisor

Dr Renee Newman


The purpose of this study was to provide the notion of ‘de-sign’ as a proposed aid for movement composition and is the core framework of my research, which is aimed at empowering the dancer/choreographer with a multi-disciplinary aesthetic and a focus for dialectic discussion and experimentation with all material enclosed within the scenographic. De-sign is a method for decoding scenography (as a deconstruction tool to extract the components of composition classified as elements and principles). The play on words is a deliberate acknowledgement of the ‘design’ in the scenographic environment which, in this study, takes into account that all forms of designed theatrical components can be ‘de-constructed’ and re-designed with and for the choreography. The overall aim of the research is to examine the application of scenography for extending dance-making practice through the catalyst of de-sign. To this end, I created three inter-disciplinary installations/performances/scenographies as a way to analyse the ‘space’ and everything within it for movement composition (See Figures: 7., 8. and 9.). The creation of the spaces was a way of compressing the choreographic experiment by supplying a prepared environment as an example space for creative encounters. It is worth noting that it was never the focus of the research to investigate the relationship between the dancer/choreographers with the sound, lighting and stage designers. In any performance environment there is a dialogue between these people but the point of this study was how I might facilitate the relationship between the scenographic material and the dancers for the making of choreography. The dancer/choreographer operates in a ‘de-sign’ paradigm and uses a relatively simple list of structured principles to analyse the environment and employ these principles as triggers for invention to develop choreographic ideas. In de-signing of the given installation’s scenography, the dancers were asked to extend their ideas from the details as well as from the more prominent information and signs into which they would normally probe. in order to find unity, in their engagement with the whole. My research practice consisted of setting up scenographic environments as practical incubators for the immersive experience of the dancer/choreographer and thereby testing de-sign’s capacity for creative compositional movement growth.


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