Author Identifier

Joanna Tollemache Pollitt

Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Supervisor

Dr Jonathan Marshall

Second Supervisor

Dr Marcella Polain

Third Supervisor

Dr Marcella Polain

Fourth Supervisor

Associate Professor Cat Hope


With the premise to ‘write like I dance,’ Writing as dancing investigates new methods of accessing and revealing choreographic thinking in three distinct ways; writing as a soloist, writing for the ensemble and writing responsively in collaboration. Resulting iterations have variously emerged in the form of performance, novella, play, artist-book, exhibition and long form poem; the novella The Dancer in Your Hands, being the primary solo work presented alongside this exegesis.

The research posits engagement with solo dance improvisation practice as a dynamically charged, and tangible way of thinking that is transferable to the practice of writing. It draws on the quick shifting associational response systems and states of heightened attention as developed in the response project in my MA (2002). Writing as dancing proposes the activation of the ‘State of Dancingness’ in mobilising the act of writing as the centralisation of embodiment, and investigates the capability of the professional dancing body to reorient the relationship between dancing and the act of writing. This reorientation is discussed through examining fields of performance writing, feminist texts and queer phenomenology to excavate the liminal spaces between disciplines and the unhiding of emergent content. The agency of the dancer as author provokes new publishing platforms and an expanded readership for dance via the publication of embodied texts. She breathes.