The art of unknowing: Using improvisation to explore kinaesthetic attention in contemporary dance repertoire

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Dance) Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Emma Fishwick

Second Advisor

Renee Newman


In my experience as a dancer, I have found the existing process of learning repertoire from a video to be ineffective, time consuming and unfulfilling physically and artistically. This research investigates ways that improvisation can be used strategically to ‘dig in’ to repertoire material from a different perspective and gain information about learning repertoire, specifically when the only source material for that repertoire is a video. For this research, the repertoire I have chosen to learn is a section of the work divided, choreographed by Jo Pollitt in 2013, performed by Paea Leach and Bernadette Lewis. The repertoire is the vessel for experimenting with improvisational tasks and tools to gain a greater understanding of my kinaesthetic attention and the experience of learning repertoire. Through the methodology of practice as research the investigation uses a combination of improvisation and repertoire rehearsal to provide insight to the relationship that exists between improvisation and repertoire, develop my personal artistic practice, and contribute to existing scholarship on contemporary dance.

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