1st Edition

Improvised Dance (In)Corporeal Knowledges

By Nalina Wait Copyright 2023
    238 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    238 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book elucidates the technical aspects of improvised dance performance and reframes the notion of labour in the practice from one that is either based on compositionally formal logic or a mysterious impulse, to one that addresses the (in)corporeal dimensions of practice.

    Mobilising the languages and conceptual frameworks of theories of affect, embodied cognition, somatics, and dance, this book illustrates the work of specialist improvisers who occupy divergent positions within the complex field of improvised dance. It offers an alternative narrative of the history and current practice of Western improvised dance centred on the epistemology of its (in)corporeal knowledges, which are elusive yet vital to the refinement of expertise.

    Written for both a disciplinary-specific and interdisciplinary audience, this book will interest dance scholars, students, and practising artists.

    1. Western Improvised Dance: Practices, Pedagogies, and Language 2. Dewey and the Pre-history of Western Improvisation 3. Embodied Consciousness 4. Resonance of Affect and Immanent Evaluation 5. The Aesthetics of an Ethics of Being 6. Cultivating Movement Systems 7. Prohibitive and Emancipative Self-Surveillance


    Nalina Wait is a dance artist and pracademic currently lecturing at the Australian College of Physical Education. She is of Irish settler descent and lives on Gadigal Country in Eora, Sydney. Her interests are the practice and performance of dance improvisation, somatics, and the cultivation of somatic intelligence.

    ‘This is an impressive account of western improvised dance that remains loyal to the practice, while seeking to amplify its self-understanding. Wait's commitment to the concept of affect and its resonance runs through this book as a core principle, offering a basis for thinking through that which is distinctive about western improvised dance.’

    Philipa Rothfield, honorary staff member in Philosophy and Politics at La Trobe University, Australia, and honorary professor in Dance and Philosophy of the Body at the University of Southern Denmark.

    ‘Wait embraces the complex field of contemporary, western improvised dance, in what I’d call a cartography, a genealogy, and an analysis of local practices or case studies. Through a major compilation of sources and authors, Wait offers alternative conceptual models to re-categorize practices and escape dualisms. This book makes an important contribution to dance studies.’

    Isabelle Ginot, Professor in the Dance Department at Université Paris 8 – Vincennes-Saint-Denis, France.