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UAL Research Online

Dancing into the Third Age: Social Dance as Cultural Text:

Thomas, Helen and Cooper, Lesley (2002) Dancing into the Third Age: Social Dance as Cultural Text:. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Thomas, Helen and Cooper, Lesley

The singly authored website and accompanying jointly written research report were externally funded (AHRB/RSL/4349/APN14041) to generate outputs from an AHRB project (AHRB/MRG-AN4349/APN10994) which explored the meanings of social dance as a cultural practice for people over the age of 60 in London and Essex.

The research built on an earlier study of ballroom dancing (Thomas and Miller 1997), which indicated the invisibility of older people in public space and the lack of attention paid to older dancers in dance studies. ‘Mapping’ this invisible activity among the older age ranges revealed a rich variety of regular dance events, classes and workshops.

The multifaceted qualitative methodology (mapping, interviews, participant observation, dance diaries, coding) included the researchers filming the dancing. Five dance sites were chosen for more in-depth study and further filming. The videos were edited by me and taken back to these sites for comment and to garner further data on movement styles and dancing skills. This process was commended in the AHRB’s assessment of the project. The nine website videos, with accompanying textual commentary, which I created, represent the full range of dance activities studied.

The website serves to disseminate the research to a non-specialist audience and the participants (and formed the basis for a future AHRC-funded website www.danceinjuries.org). It illustrates and interrelates with specific points in the report, drawing together the socio, cultural and aesthetic aspects. The older dancers’ words in the report, which voice the pleasures of dancing and a strong sense of community as well as loss, have more potency through recourse to the online video ethnography, where their movement skills and style can be seen in action. Subsequent publications by the author (Thomas 2003, 2004) incorporate the online material. Six conference papers (UK, USA, Ireland) and three refereed journals articles emerged from this research.

Evidence: Report, DVD.

Official Website: http://www.dance.gold.ac.uk
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: RAE2008 UoA63
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Other Affiliations > RAE 2008
Date: 1 July 2002
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2009 23:50
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 08:57
Item ID: 1710
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1710

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