Matthew Reason

Dance Audiences

Untitled5Researching dance audiences is wonderfully challenging. How is it possible to account for the experience of watching bodies moving in space? Experiences that often we are not – consciously, verbally – entirely sure that we fully grasp for ourselves, let alone in a way that might be communicated to anybody else. Dance perhaps is ineffable, something that we cannot put into words.

It is partly these very reasons, plus my own enjoyment of dance as a spectator, that motivates me to research this area. As with all my audience research I am interested in developing or adapting methods that allow me to explore audiences experiences creatively and playfully. Could you draw it for me? Write a poem about it? Tell me where in your body you felt the experience?

Some projects relating to dance audiences are presented below. Other chapters and papers include:

‘Kinesthetic and related Pleasures: Exploring audience responses to watching live dance’, Dance Research Journal 42(2) (pp 49-75) 2010. With Dee Reynolds.

‘Watching Dance, Drawing the Experience and Visual Knowledge’ Forum for Modern Language Studies 46 (4). 2010.

Also see full publications list.

Researching the Lived Experience of Dance

5 Soldiers Audience Research

5 Soldiers, by the Rosie Kay Dance Company, is a contemporary dance performance that looks at how the human body remains essential to war, even in the 21st century. In … Continue reading

Creative Writing and Audience Research

After watching a dance performance with friends we often leave the theatre and find ourselves asking each other, ‘What did you think?’ Or perhaps, alternatively, ‘Did you enjoy it?’ That … Continue reading

Interactive Mind Map

Qualitative audience research frequently produces large amounts of unruly data. For myself the process of beginning to make sense of or find routes through the unordered mass of material that … Continue reading

Researching with plasticine

Does giving children plasticine help when interviewing them about watching dance? I have previous used visual arts workshops with groups of spectators to explore their experiences of dance and theatre. … Continue reading

Watching Dance: Kinesthetic Empathy

The Watching Dance project used qualitative audience research and neuroscience to explore how dance spectators respond to and identify with dance. It was a multidisciplinary project, involving collaboration across four … Continue reading

Where in your body?

‘Where in your body?’ is a single question online audience research survey, piloted for performances of 5 Soldiers by Rosie Kay Dance Company and now also disseminated to Scottish Ballet … Continue reading

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