Chapter in:Dynamism in Metaphor and Beyond
Edited by Herbert L. Colston, Teenie Matlock and Gerard J. Steen
[Metaphor in Language, Cognition, and Communication 9] 2022
► pp. 63–76
Researching embodied metaphor production through improvisational dance practice
This contribution considers how artistic research based on the development of a form of practice for improvisational dance draws upon, and helps develop, theory from cognitive linguistics and principles from the phenomenology of movement. Dancers given the task of translating the sound of a singer’s voice (rather than her words) into bodily actions while a song was played were found (based on their narratives about the experience) to have intuitively employed certain forms of iconicity, image schemas, metaphor, and metonymy as principles for mapping sound qualities to moving one’s body (movement processes) and assuming certain poses (products of movements). For example, an extension of the tongue or opening of the jaw is parallel in certain ways to the muscular effort involved in the extension of one’s arm, namely via mappings of iconicity between movement of different articulators. The abrupt onset and decay (the aural image [Rhodes, 1994]) of air turbulence coming from a pronounced consonant like ‘k’ affords understanding in terms of what Stern (1985) calls a vitality affect, allowing us to interpret the quality of plosiveness across the domains of sound, touch, or action. This theoretically-informed improvisational dance practice explores the bases of felt meaning that can give rise to and ground conceptual metaphors based on actions (as well as their corresponding lexicalizations) – an issue explored extensively in R. Gibbs’ work.
Keywords: artistic research, iconicity, improvisational dance, kinetic, metaphor, movement, sense-making, vitality affects
- Solo dance practice, from sound to action
- Internal dynamics of the dancer’s translation process
- Duet dance practice: From sound to shared action in interactive dynamic systems
- Mechanisms in interactive sense-making
- Artistic research as a mode of inquiry
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