University of Limerick
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Bridging horizons: embodied cultural knowledge through the development and presentation of ethio-modern dance

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posted on 2023-01-06, 15:46 authored by Michael William Lucas (RAS Mikey C) Courtney
This practice-led research explores Ethio-Modern Dance as a movement concept and as a medium for cultural knowledge exchange. By using artistic practice as the primary method of investigation the author analyses the development and presentation of two major Ethio-Modern Dance choreographic works, የቡና ዓለም YeBuna Alem/A Coffee World (2015) and Common Threads (2016). This thesis is comprised of five chapters in which the research is situated. It includes qualitative research and illuminates the methodologies, theoretical underpinnings, and conceptual understandings of the author’s artistic practice. Ethio-Modern Dance, a concept put forth by the author, is an exploration into the promotion of embodied Ethiopian and other world dance cultures. It is presented through the lens of a Western urban contemporary dance artist and lifist, the latter stemming from the author’s philosophy on valued aesthetics referred to as Lifism. Other theoretical concepts explored in this thesis are embodiment, ‘the self’, metaphor, the soma, and ritual. This thesis is accompanied by audio/visual recordings of the author’s two major Ethio-Modern Dance choreographic works, which are analysed in separate chapters in relation to the central research questions of the investigation: What is my understanding of Ethio- Modern Dance? What is the importance of Ethio-Modern Dance to me? And, Can Ethio-Modern Dance be used as a medium for embodied cultural knowledge exchange by the performance participants in my two major choreographic works at the University of Limerick, Ireland and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia? This research employs various methods of investigation including, but not limited to, artistic practice, forms of autoethnographic writing, personal journaling, narrative enquiry, literature review, and internet-based resources in order to compile qualitative data that will assist in the analysis of the two major choreographed works. The analysis of these choreographed works also examines the abovementioned concepts and their roles within in the creative processes and performances of these works. This thesis incorporates the perspectives of the various participants in order to illustrate their embodied cultural knowledge as well as the impact of these bodies of choreographic works on the dance communities in which they were presented. As a result of this practice-led research and choreographic analysis, the author gains a deeper sense of himself as an artist and lifsit, and also refines his understanding of Ethio-Modern Dance as a concept while exemplifing ways in which it can be used as a medium for cultural knowledge exchange. This thesis is the foundation of the author’s ongoing investigation into his embodied understanding of Ethio-Modern Dance as a concept and illustrates the important contribution this research makes to the field of arts practice-led studies.



  • Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Foley, Catherine E.





Department or School

  • Irish World Academy of Music & Dance

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