University of Limerick
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Generating states: exploring the kinaesthetic and energetic relationship between the moving body-mind and environment, through the lens of a dancer, a choreographer and a performer

posted on 2022-10-18, 13:58 authored by Mairéad Vaughan
My dance practice research examines and reflects on what I experience as a deep symbiotic relationship between the body-mind and environment, through the creation of two original choreographic works. This mixed-mode heuristic, consists of a studiobased and a text-based strand of enquiry, through which I reflect the multiple perspectives and states of awareness traversed as a dancer, choreographer and performer. The studio-based strand revolves around two creative processes I entered into, which resulted in the choreographic works at the core of this research – a three-screen video dance installation called TerrainSkin and a live collaborative multi-disciplinary (dance, video and visual art) performance installation called TerrainSkin:FourDimensionalFlow (TerrainSkin:4DFlow). The text-based strand aims to reflect the intimate nature of my moving experience in site-specific environments, the two creative processes that I entered into, and the performance of the two choreographic works. In both the studio and text-based strand, as ‘thematic strands’ or ‘theoretical insights’ emerge directly out of my dance and choreographic enquiry, I simultaneously engage with the canon of Western contemporary dance and the field of site-specific dance. I also engage with theoretical fields of Philosophy, Psychology and Science/Physics to deepen my investigation into specific aspects of these thematic strands. The first thematic strand reflects what I experienced as a deep reciprocal interconnectedness between my moving body and environment where notions of separate, fragmented, polarised, dualistic ideologies are diminished and experienced as re-integrated continuums. The other two thematic strands are conceptualised as ‘the energetic body’ and ‘the kinaesthetic body’. It is through these two bodies, generated within my dance practice as states of heightened kinaesthetic and energetic awareness, that directly support my experience of a symbiotic interconnectedness between my body-mind and environment. As part of this research I created an experiential pyschosomatic dance, choreographic and performance method/practice called Generating States which supports me to frame, illuminate and deepen my investigation into all three thematic strands. Through my choreographic work, I aim to provide insight into a particular way of being in the world – through the intimate lens of an immersive moving experience. I trace the multi-disciplinary nature of my practice through my engagement with video and performance installation, to support me in constructing immersive performance environments that might generate an embodied kinaesthetic and/or energetic response.



  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Nunan, Mary

Second supervisor

Phelan, Helen Frances


peer-reviewed Two videos forming part of this thesis are available on Zenodo: TerrainSkin Video - and TerrainSkin4DFlow Performance -



Department or School

  • Irish World Academy of Music & Dance

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