Leeds Beckett University
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Kinetic Thinking: Corporeal Cognition through Dance Practice and Performance

posted on 2022-11-15, 15:56 authored by Rachel Krische

This thesis explores notions of embodied knowledges within dance through original research into the dance practice and performance of Rachel Krische. The central proposition is that dance is an activity of thinking in movement. It proposes the concept of kinetic thinking: that bodily movement is not illustrating thinking taking place in a separate mind, but is in itself an activity of thinking. This thesis critically engages with the experience that is made available within the practice and live performance of three existing published works: the solo The Swimmer (Hay, 2008), the duet Do Not Be Afraid (Sperling, 2010) and the solo Headphones (Krische, 2014) within Table of Contents (Davies, Buckley, Kaski, Morrissey, Krische & Sperling, 2014). The three works represent a continuous process of engagement with a studio and performance-based practice that allowed an in-depth exploration of the proposition of thinking kinetically. This was informed by contextual research, aspects of which are captured within this document. Framed against the historical legacy of a persistent Cartesian mind-body division, the discussion is explored within the disciplines of dance, phenomenology and embodied cognition. Theoretical concepts of perception, attention, action, somatic awareness, temporality, thinking and cognition are examined and interwoven with descriptions of insights that have emerged from the embodied conceptual tussling happening within practice. 

Additionally, details of the published works are presented in a separate supporting volume following the main thesis, providing contextual information that includes credits, synopsis and touring history details. A timeline of the works and professional biography situate them within a wider context of professional practice. Photographs and examples of scores/note-book entries are also provided, alongside video documentation of the three published works that can be accessed via the following link: Web link: https://vimeo.com/album/5065714 . Although I am collaborator and maker within the works, the primary focus of the research presented here is to be considered, not of or through the making of dances, but the doing of dancing. It focuses on knowledge realised through the lived experience of the dancer, recognising both the importance of the dancing body and positioning the dancer’s contribution as central to understanding.


Qualification name

  • PhD by Existing Published Work


Shail, Rob ; Bannon, Fiona

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date


Qualification level

  • Doctoral


  • eng


Leeds Beckett University

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