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Petri Hoppu IMITATION, EMPATHY AND DANCE

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IMITATION,
EMPATHY
AND DANCE
Helsinki, March 20, 2010
Petri Hoppu
Project Dance in Nordic Spaces
Department of Music Anthropology
University of Tampere
Dancing with the others:
п‚— Couple dances
social dancing
п‚—
Group dances
How does one learn to dance?
п‚—
others on the dance floor
в—¦ dancing together, dancing similarly
в—¦ collectivity vs. individual virtuosity (see Bollen 2001 &
Anttila 2007)
п‚—
learning social dances – learning what others are
doing, learning from others
вћµimitating other dancers (active)
вћµletting other people move oneself (passive)
п‚—
learning means transmission of movements, body
attitudes, structures and style from one dancer or
dancers to another
в—¦ constant process in social dancing
A case:
Learning the Minuet
Dancers from the Swedishspeaking West Coast
A case:
Learning the Minuet
п‚—
orientation in two
directions in longways
formation:
пѓЁpartner (opposite sex)
пѓЁline (same sex)
п‚—
music as a cohesive
element
в—¦ music as experienced
в—¦ structural frame for
dancing
A case:
Learning the Minuet
п‚—
sources for imitative learning:
◦ seeing others’ movements (quality and articulation
of steps in relation to rhythm, movements of hands
and torso) and body attitude
в—¦ hearing clapping, stamping and other sounds of feet
вћµkinaesthetic
experience: experience of others’
dance
вћµresulting action: imitation / trying out the
Minuet
From imitation to empathy
Imitation in dance:
◦ self-other –relation
в—¦ mode of intersubjectivity
в—¦ not only mechanical mirroring but requires
grasping foreign experience
вћµempathy: experience
of foreign
consciousness in general (Stein 1989)
Between and beyond self and other
Empathy creates a fundamental relation between
self and other: they enact each other reciprocally
through it (Thompson 2007)
п‚— self and other intertwine with each other as a
dynamic system of reversibility (Merleau-Ponty
1968)
◦ but they don’t merge to each other
◦ empathy does not mean a total grasp of the other’s
feelings and emotions, but the other is experienced as
another being like oneself through appreciation of
similarity (Gallese 2001)
п‚—
empathy acts as a foundation for inter-subjective
experience and community (Stein 1989 & 2000)
Kinaesthetic empathy
How can one have kinaesthetic experience from
others’ dancing?
п‚— kinaesthetic empathy (Parviainen 2006)
в—¦ following other people moving (e.g. dancing), we can
get the feeling of the movement
п‚—
individuals have different kinaesthetic experiences,
knowledge and skills: their topography and
kinaesthetic map of the body differ (Parviainen
2006)
в—¦ the act of kinaesthetic empathy is different depending
on one’s topography and kinaesthetic map of the
body, which entails that capability of imitation as well
as learning to dance vary from one individual to
another
Kinaesthetic empathy
п‚—
kinaesthetic empathy is a matter of experiencing
other’s movements through similarities
◦ the closer one’s kinaesthetic map is to the other’s one,
the easier it is to learn the dance
вћµcultural and social differences affect learning
This does not imply that some dances would be
inaccessible for someone
в�ќ kinaesthetic maps can be changed and
developed
In general, everyone has a potential to learn
whatever dances
Anttila, Eeva 2007. Dance as a Dialogical Praxis: Challenging individualism in art and education. In
Tidsskrift for dans i uddannelse vol. 1.
Bollen, Jonathan 2001. Queer Kinesthesia. Performativity on the Dance Floor. In Dancing Desires.
Choreographing Sexualities on & off the Stage. The University of Wisconsin Press.
Gallese,Vittorio 2001.The �Shared Manifold’ Hypothesis: From Mirror Neurons to Empathy. In
Between Ourselves. Second-person issues in the study of consciousness. Ed. by Evan
Thompson. Exeter: Imprint Academic.
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice 1968.The Visible and the Invisible. [Le Visible et l’invisible 1964.]
Northwestern University Press.
Parviainen, Jaana 2006. Meduusan like. Mobiiliajan tiedonmuodostuksen filosofiaa. Helsinki:
Gaudeamus.
Stein, Edith 1989. On the Problem of Empathy. [Zum Problem der EinfГјhlung 1916.] Washington,
D.C.: ISC Publications.
Stein, Edith 2000. Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities. [Beiträge zur philosophischen
BegrГјndung der Psychologie und der Geistenwissenschaften 1922.] Washington, D.C.: ISC
Publications.
Thompson, Evan 2007. Mind in Life: Biology, phenomenology, and the science of mind. Cambridge:
Belknap Press.
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