Relationships between dance, health and aesthetic performance in a company of mature dancers: an exploratory study

Article


Farmer, C., Laws, H., Eldon, S. and Maliphant, R. 2022. Relationships between dance, health and aesthetic performance in a company of mature dancers: an exploratory study. Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices. 14 (2), pp. 197-216. https://doi.org/10.1386/jdsp_00084_1
TypeArticle
TitleRelationships between dance, health and aesthetic performance in a company of mature dancers: an exploratory study
AuthorsFarmer, C., Laws, H., Eldon, S. and Maliphant, R.
Abstract

Dance with the older body is often viewed as a means to slow the physiological and cognitive decline associated with ageing or chronic health conditions. However, little research has investigated the aesthetic qualities and performance potential of mature dancers and how this might influence health outcomes. During a choreographic project bringing together a renowned contemporary dance company with one of mature dancers, a co-designed, mixed-methods approach was taken to explore the impact of a somatically informed approach to choreography on the dancers’ movement quality, efficiency and performance aesthetics. Quality-of-life measurements showed no significant differences between pre- and post-choreographic project, although high scores suggested good overall health amongst participants. Subjective changes in movement quality were observed alongside improvements in balance ability ascribed to the inward focus of the somatically informed creative process. Participants commented that they were able to achieve more, physically and aesthetically, than they had previously believed possible.

Keywordssomatics; choreography ; older adults ; well-being ; movement; balance ; physiology; later life
Sustainable Development Goals3 Good health and well-being
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
Research GroupDance group
LanguageEnglish
PublisherIntellect
JournalJournal of Dance and Somatic Practices
ISSN1757-1871
Electronic1757-188X
Publication dates
Online25 Jan 2023
Print31 Dec 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Nov 2022
Submitted21 Apr 2022
Accepted09 Sep 2022
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1386/jdsp_00084_1
Web of Science identifierWOS:001023359000005
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