By Sondra Horton Fraleigh, Penelope Hanstein
This article introduces scholars to investigate tools in dance. The editors introduce dance as evolutional, elevating problems with definition and naming, defining dance in view of its intrinsic participatory values, its developmental points, and its reasons from artwork to ritual.
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Additional resources for Researching Dance: Evolving Modes of Inquiry
Dance, like all disciplines, changes and evolves over time. Established and emerging artists create new works that expand our ideas about what we call dance, and research contributes new ways of understanding and knowing dance. As tradition meets innovation, competing theories cause us to question the aesthetic, cultural, critical, historical, and pedagogical canons of the field. New ideas replace old ones and new language emerges when traditional discourse can no longer adequately express our ideas.
In fact, as you study the various approaches presented in this text you will come to realize that much of research is circuitous and improvisational, drawing heavily on our subjective experiences of dance. The research process is a balance between the planned and the unplanned and between the predictable and the serendipitous. In dance, particularly, it should also be a process that merges objective and subjective ways of knowing and understanding reality. We must not forget that at the heart of everything we do in dance is dance and dancing.
While this should not be the sole factor in choosing a research project, it is an important consideration. Those of us who have benefited from strong professional and scholarly mentoring relationships will testify to the value of having the opportunity to work with someone who will provide an honest and informed critical review of your work, as well as advice and direction that will help you achieve your research goals. You will want to learn which faculty, both in and out of your home department, are available and willing to be a part of your project.