Author Identifiers

Alexandra Kay
ORCID: 0000-0002-6065-1142

Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Dance) Honours

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Dr Luke Hopper

Second Advisor

Dr Reneé Newman

Abstract

Flow, initially discovered by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is defined as a conscious and positive state that creates optimal performance in an involvement in moment-to-moment activity (Csikszentmihalyi, 2014; Engeser & Baumann, 2016; Hefferon & Ollis, 2006). Considering flow is a calm, focused and positive state, accessing flow can have an effective impact in terms of anxiety prevention, confidence/lack thereof and arousal management. This research aims to identify how dance rehearsal and pre-performance routines can facilitate flow states in dance. I pursued these aims through a reflexive, practice-led research approach involving mixed methods. The research involved myself as practitioner and researcher, as I practiced and documented the effect of various activities on the state of flow in dance, through different phases of investigation. Firstly, the ‘Development Phase’ was conducted. This phase consisted of research and brainstorming flow-enhancing activities during the LINK Dance Company’s European Tour. In addition to this, I interviewed members of the LINK Dance Company to compile anecdotal reports regarding previous experiences of flow. These anecdotes were used to formulate the activities I undertook in the subsequent study phase, the ‘Experimental Phase’. This stage of the investigation was conducted during the rehearsal period for a new work, as well as planning, practicing and adapting my practice throughout the performance season utilising a reflexive process. Likert scales of flow state frequency, written journaling as well as discussions between myself and my supervisors were used to triangulate my observations regarding the effect of preparatory processes and accessing the flow state in dance. The overall objective of this study was to contribute to knowledge in the field of ‘Positive Psychology’ through understanding how to access positive states of consciousness and optimal experience that is flow. As flow is a positive, ‘worry-free’ and focused state of being, this research can contribute to preventing (or minimising) performance anxiety and feelings of self-doubt and poor confidence, and thus has application for the dance industry and beyond.

Available for download on Wednesday, June 07, 2023

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