Watching Dance: Kinesthetic Empathy

    The Sound/Music Investigation with Rosie Kay Dance Company  

Recently we were lucky enough to collaborate with the wonderful Rosie Kay Dance Company on staging a unique performance as part of an investigation into the effect of sound and music on audience response to dance.

On Thursday 10 October Rosie Kay and Morgan Cloud performed Double Points: 3x in the John Thaw Theatre at the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama on Oxford Road, Manchester. This experimental work of dance was created as an exclusive collaboration between Rosie Kay Dance Company, Emio Greco| PC and the Watching Dance Research Team. Double Points: 3x experiments with different sound scores and a set amount of physical language to explore the effects of soundscapes on the perception of live dance performance.

A complex dance sequence was performed to classical music, electro-acoustic music, and once in silence with audible breathing patterns and footfalls. This was performed before a live specially-selected audience comprised of dance spectators with varying levels of experience, and recorded in a series of short films which you can view below.

The titles reflect the editing emphasis in each sequence. ‘Soundscapes’ contains sections of all three soundscapes used; ‘Kinesthetic’ uses more editing effects, and ‘Breathing’ contains the section performed without music. To get the full effect we recommend that you watch the films in fullscreen mode with headphones or speakers. We hope you enjoy them!





The performance was followed by three focus group discussions chaired by members of the research team to reflect on audience experiences of watching the dance with an emphasis on how it was affected by sound.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all the people who helped us with this study; Rosie Kay Dance Company, all the research participants who gave up their time, the staff at the Martin Harris Centre and to Kedzie Penfield (Queen Margaret University), Clemens Wöllner (Royal Northern College of Music), Ilka Schulz (independent filmmaker) and Frances Blythe (photographer) for their invaluable help with analysis, filming and photography.

You may also like to visit our Facebook to see staged photographs of Rosie and Morgan performing 'Double Points: K'.