Practicing First Things 1st
: Gestures, Words, and Ideas

  • Michael Getman

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This thesis delves into the creative process and performance of the solo work First Things 1st, which emerged during the 2020 pandemic lockdown. The solo work became an opportunity to engage in a creative mode amidst the limitations imposed by the pandemic. By focusing inwardly and examining the dialogue with choreography, this reflective study explores the complex nature of dance practice as a mode of cognition and its impact on our experience of being present in the world. Integrating movement, speech, and thought, the study aims to understand dance practice's cognitive and creative dimensions, the potential for self-discovery and expression, and the deeper connections between bodily actions and mental processes.

Drawing inspiration from Baruch de Spinoza's Ethics and employing his unique method of philosophical inquiry known as the Geometrical Method, characterized by axioms, definitions, syllogism, and propositions presented systematically and logically akin to Euclidean geometry, I began by practicing movement patterns based on geometric shapes. Through this practice, a heightened awareness of actions, images, sensations, and thoughts emerged, sparking an inquiry into the relationship between sensory perceptions and the generation of movement ideas. The exploration continued by integrating spoken words into the practice, aiming to understand the intricate connections and interactions between movement, speech, and thought.

The study examines the interplay between ideas, words, and gestures, emphasizing their role as bridges between bodily actions and mental processes. It reflects on the nature of ideas, words, and gestures, questioning their stability and evolution through repetition and variation while exploring how ideas represent objects and how subjective experiences of emotions and affect emerge from encounters between different expressive modes such as movement, thought, and speech. Through observation, analysis, and embodied reflection, the study uncovers insights into the ontological questions raised by the practice, particularly the interplay between gestures, words, and thoughts. It contemplates the connection between thought and movement, hoping to contribute to the broader field of choreographic practices by offering more profound insights into the relationship between embodiment, cognition, and creative processes, ultimately fostering a greater understanding of the unity between the body and mind within choreographic practices.
Date of Award14 Dec 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBen Spatz (Main Supervisor)

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