Research Statement

The Communicative Body: The Language of Dance and Its Impact on Cross-Cultural Understanding


The innate conversational power of the body is often misperceived as inconsequential in comparison to the extensive weight we allot to verbal articulation.  Yet, when faced with the circumstance of mixed communicative signals, the expressivity of body language likely prevails for its authenticity.  In my research as a performing artist, it is my intent to re-contextualize the communicative possibility of the body through dance as an amplified construct of the nonverbal language.  I desire to employ the dimensional capacity of dance as an intensified facet of bodily language to overcome the limitations of cross-cultural communication. The vigorous physical exploration will culminate in a ten day trip to China. I will travel with select colleagues to host lecture demonstrations, facilitate movement, conduct improvisation, and perform for and with varying Chinese university students. Through the process, I am learning and performing eight choreographic works expressing a range of historical, social, and cultural contexts. My work is not so much a reaction to, but a discovery toward the ability of exchanging information through movement synergy to better understand the significance of nonverbal literacy as well as broad cultural perceptions.  Dance is not neutral.  In its utilization of gesture, space, time, and dexterity, dance intrinsically embodies the principles of body language. Its reliance on the body insists a specific dialogue and intention.  I aspire to perpetuate the magnitude of the communicative body and its impact on cultural encounters, especially in interactions for which spoken communication is virtually impossible due to lingual restriction.  However, the most valuable part of this work may lie in the essence of movement as an informative tool within the realm of communication for accessing cultural understanding.  I feel that I will have succeeded if the resultant experience illuminates heightened cross-cultural communication by way of movement exploration.