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Moving spaces: choreography, metaphor and meaning

Newman, Rosalind (2010) Moving spaces: choreography, metaphor and meaning. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94552) (KAR id:94552)

Language: English

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Space is as integral to choreography as time, energy, and the body in motion. In this dissertation, Moving Spaces: Choreography, Metaphor, and Meaning, I ask how choreographic space acquires meaning, consider the kinds of meanings it conveys, and discover where those meanings are located within a dance. I explore, then, the ways our perceptions of space are influenced by culture, personal experience, and biology, and question to what degree our responses are universal or unique. I reflect on and analyse a selection of my choreographic work, view the work of other choreographers, and draw on the writings of scholars in dance and other disciplines to describe and think through my dances. I investigate these writers’ views on dance, space, meaning, and the body in motion and link them to my practical research. I see the views and theories of four scholars as particularly significant: Gaston Bachelard’s insights about imagination and metaphor, and how art reflects our sense of intimate space; Rudolf Laban’s notions of spatial geometry and the interconnections between space, time, and force; Ivar Hagendoorn’s discussions of neurological research, which offer insights into both the creation and perception of space in dance; and, Yi Fu Tuan’s illuminating ideas about the cultural influences on our experiences of space and place. I consider the meaning of space in my dances, and examine how these works articulate my own cultural and personal experiences of growing up and living in New York City and as an expatriate in Hong Kong. Through this close reading of my choreography, and with an understanding that there are no universal terms for viewing space, I suggest the importance of taking into account a multifaceted approach to understanding space in dance, including the reflections and insights of artists.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94552
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The theatre
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2022 08:52 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2022 08:52 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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