Sarah Chaffey

Author Identifiers

Sarah Chaffey
ORCID: 0000-0002-2617-8646

Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Performing Arts)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Dr Jonathan W. Marshall

Second Advisor

Dr Renée Newman

Third Advisor

Mr Michael Whaites


This Masters by Research (Performing Arts) explores the integration of voice and acting fundamentals into contemporary dance practice to prepare the dancer to deliver spoken text and convey character in performance. The inquiry was motivated by the increasing demand of the interdisciplinary dance practitioner, or more specifically, the contemporary dancer-actor. The research has involved engaging with industry, performance, ongoing studio practice and experimental workshops. The research asked how might voice and acting fundamentals be integrated into contemporary dance practice and how will this influence the dance artist in creative process and performance? The practice as research methodology involved an immersive and responsive research design. I participated in Australian dance theatre company Force Majeure’s annual dance theatre intensive, INCITE, with interest into the training tools developed by Danielle Micich which then led to taking on the lead role in the premiere of Rubber Girl on the Loose by CAKE, Singapore. Critical reflection highlighted the necessary considerations to be made by directors to address the needs for contemporary dancers when undertaking movement and text-based performance. Studio practice and experimental workshops took place after this performance season with the aim to explore various approaches to developing vocal and breath support and acting fundamentals. Addressing vocal needs has resulted in a series of recommended training exercises to develop awareness of breath and flexibility in the tension and release of crucial muscles used in respiration and spinal support. The exercises are designed to develop coordination in the activation and release of the abdominal muscles to assist dancers with speaking text atop rigorous dance movement and speaking while involved in more pedestrian actions. Video documentation and written analysis reflect the various challenges and the insight gained in the process of developing an integrated training practice.

Available for download on Monday, March 30, 2026