Improvisation in Dance and the Movement of Everyday Life

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Dance improvisation, as developed in the UK and the US in particular, has become associated with a number of tropes that apparently offer means of best practice. By attending to a few of these, I examine how they might offer insight into dance improvisation. This incorporates research into ways in which improvisation is a part of everyday life, as demonstrated most clearly in examples of infant movement and cognitive development. Taking Henry Montes and Marcus Coates’s dance film A Question of Movement as a case study example, I consider how their innovative way of dancing responses to life questions connects with the infant’s reliance on ‘thinking in movement’, a term offered by Maxine Sheets-Johnstone. Finally, I consider what dancers can learn from people living with chronic dementia-related diseases who forge ways to live in a perpetual present and, conversely, what insight dancers might offer through integration of dance improvisatory processes in caregiving.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Improvisation in Dance
EditorsVida L Midgelow
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780199396986
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2019


  • Improvisation, everyday movement, thinking in movement, infant development, dementia, life
  • dance,

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