An exploration into how imagery can be used as a choreographic tool during the creative process and to lead toward embodiment in performance.

Merrett, M. (2020) An exploration into how imagery can be used as a choreographic tool during the creative process and to lead toward embodiment in performance. Undergraduate theses, University of Chichester.

[thumbnail of DAN 2020.002.pdf] Text
DAN 2020.002.pdf - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (279kB)


The act of embodiment highlights the tangible form of an idea, emphasising its - quality, associated feelings and/or characteristics, and providing the ability to conjure up a range of sensations (Lexico dictionary, 2020, [online]). Regarding movement and imagery, this is the somatic journey that is explored when the mover mentally pictures an image and discovers physical translations onto their moving body.

This research project explores the role of imagery in dance, to develop knowledge as to how a choreographer can use the application of imagery as a tool during the creative process of making a dance work; how it is able to inform the formation of vocabulary and as a method to lead dancers toward embodiment in performance. Understanding how imagery can aid the embodiment of movement is useful when creating choreography, adding texture and quality to the movement, as well as providing the dancers with deeper connections to their individual responses, generating a sense of intimacy between the dancer and their movement.

The term imagery itself can be described as a polysemous expression, due to the multiple meanings, connotations and derivatives. It can be regarded as; a concept in one’s mind, an artificial thought, a formation of mental pictures, or as Forrester describes “a mental representation of something (i.e. a visible object), not by direct perception but by memory or imagination; a mental picture or impression” (Forrester, 2000:3). This is valuable to this research as it will investigate how the dancers respond to their own images, how they individually perceive a mental picture and how this visualisation can then translate onto their body.

Chapter one considers imagery from a psychological perspective, drawing on the ideas of Aristotle and Hume, to gain knowledge of how mental imagery is stimulated and formed in the mind of the ‘image-maker’ , therefore informing the way the dancers are approached as image-makers, in my choreographic process. This was explored through investigations into imagery during practice as research (PAR), utilising pre-established approaches of dance practitioners and choreographers, to deepen my understanding of how imagery can be used to enhance creativity and performance.

The coming together of imagery and movement has been and continues to be used frequently throughout dance practice and choreography. This research examines in chapter two, methods developed by practitioners such as Joan Skinner and Moche Feldenkrais (1904-1984), which use imagery in a teaching environment. This also includes an interview with a dance practitioner, teaching within a university setting, in order to expand my understanding of how imagery can lead a dancer to deeper sensorial experience. This chapter underpins how choreographers, including Wayne McGregor and William Forsythe, use methods utilising imagery for creativity and embodiment when making movement. By drawing upon both imagery in teaching, and choreographic practice, it will help extend my knowledge on how it can be used choreographically, with evidence from my PAR interwoven throughout. I have worked with three dancers, who will be referred to as A, B and C, to create my final piece, Fragments from the Inside and to identify if the methods support and nourish the dancer’s progression toward embodied engagements with their physicality.

Publication Type: Theses (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BA (Hons) Dance
Uncontrolled Keywords: movement, embodiment, choreography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV1580 Dance > GV1782.5 Choreography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV201 Physical education and training
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV1580 Dance
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Divisions: Student Research > Undergraduate
Academic Areas > Department of Dance
Depositing User: Janet Carter
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2021 12:24
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2021 00:10

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item
▲ Top

Our address

I’m looking for