Wednesday, 16 November 2016

culture and more assumptions!

It should be no surprise that culture has emerged as one of my themes for module 3, as has body image (but it is a surprise, because I actually had no idea what would emerge).

Living in the Caribbean, I had expected less concern around size in dance class based on the multitude of different bodies seen in and out of dance class. It seems that as a dancer, whether here the US or in Europe, shape, size and body image are issues, yet some of my reading directs me away from this, where my own data through interviews leads me towards it. (Hamilton, L. et al)

My dancers in Barbados discussed issues of low self body image but in research taken out in the US with black ballet dancers, it showed black ballet dancers to have no major issue around weight or  body image as compared with their colleagues who were white female ballet dancers.

Although I am putting this very simplistically, many questions have arisen for me because I had "assumed; that the majority of professional ballet dancers would have issues around weight and body image.  My dancers in Barbados, are modern dancers who I would have 'assumed' would have less negative body images.  In my very limited study, the emerging data has proved my assumption to be wrong.

Why do the Black US ballet dancers have less issue around weight and body image than their white counterparts and my dancers in the Caribbean?

With such a diverse range of shapes and sizes in Barbados why is the aesthetic of the European dancer preferred.  Even (according to my participants) in Caribbean folk dance?

Given the make up of audience to be a majority, Caribbean, why would the typical European aesthetic be preferable? Whose choice is it?  How does that reflect within  female Barbadian dancers confidence and relationship with their bodies?

Then there is the male perspective of weight and body image in dance U.S.A, Caribbean, Europe).

Does anyone have any stories to share around any of these areas? Or any interesting literature that you feel would be worth reading?

Although my research is centred around what is prevalent in the dance studio, post pre and during movement, I am realising that participants back stories strongly influence everything within the session. The way they enter the class/audition or rehearsal, how they approach class overall and what they get out of class. I am noticing that their cultures and personalities colour everything from preparation to execution

I look forward to hearing from you

Sociocultural Influences on Eating Disorders in Professional Female Ballet Dancers
Linda H. Hamilton  J. Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D. Michelle P. Warren, M.D.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Who would believe? - Assumptions

Hi all,
Great chat on Sunday which I was dreading in many ways (knowing that I have been in such a confused state) but it was great that Sam opened the door and I was able to admit feeling overwhelmed at this point and finding support and knowledge through the chat.

I offered to write about assumptions  but was sure that it is a subject that I have already tackled in a blog. Looking back, it looks as though I have touched on assumptions a couple of times in blogs and in my own journal but I would like to share with you a recent experience. 

During my interviews, one of my female participants was very upset recalling a period in her life where she was judged on her size in a dance class and how the impact of that led her to leave dance for many years.  When I asked a similar question to a male participant, I was ready to move onto the next question before he had even begun. I assumed that body image would not particularly affect him, perhaps he would have a word or two to mention but......  In actuality, this participant has had as much to say about body image as his female counterpart.  It was from a slightly different perspective because he began dancing at an later age and the external pressure was projected from images he had seen of dancers rather than an individual teacher being judgmental but the result was just as real and harmful to him.

I spoke to another female dancer on the same subject, again believing that I already knew the answer. Again I was surprised because I had assumed that because she has (what i believe to be) an amazing body for dance, she dissected her body up in a very objective way. Noting length of upper to forearm, thigh to shin and so on.  Where I had seen only perfection, physically and mentally in the way that this participant approaches class and fellow students and it seems, life, I had no knowledge of what else went on for her.  I completely assumed that she was as completely comfortable in her dance skin as she showed the outside world.  She mentioned that she has accepted what she has and knows how to work with it but was definitely not in the realm of security that I had imagined.

As always, this process continues to rock me keeping me balanced off balance (as William Louther would say).

Would be interested to hear your assumptions.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

At the heart

Thanks for the chat on Sunday 2nd October,
For me, it was just in a nick of time.  I was about to fall foul of the dreaded 'assumption' (sounds like a disease) and perhaps it is in this instance.  It is so easy even when aware of it not to fall into the trap of assuming.  From day one it has been pointed out, highlighted and discussed.  It comes to my mind often but even so, I was about to fall foul!

I realised during the skype discussion that I was so focussed on what my research may bring that I was not actually open to it and by not being open to it, I had begun to (gently) try to devise and elicit ways of obtaining  specific information through the interview process (that I wanted to see) in order to anaylise it rather than staying open to the process and waiting to see what information was actually offered.

Yes there is definitely a balance (as Helen said) in that one has to ensure that the method is appropriate to the task in order to maximise on the quality of data collected but starting with preconceived ideas of research findings...... mmmmm

"In similar vein, Hoffman (2002) discussed a distinction between listening in order to speak, and speaking in order to listen....... we may listen just enough to cue our next question and then cease attending to what the client is saying' - I believe that this is in a sense where I was heading.  I had prepared question not expecting particular answers but expecting the questions to be answered in a specific way.

How do we listen and hear, be at the heart of the research without our voices drowning out our participants and theorists voices.  Its all a balance and for me sometimes feeling like a tight rope walker - sensing and being aware of your core at all times but allowing the extremities to flow in order to enhance the strength of voice, allowing movement on all planes not just on one.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Module cross over

Another interesting skype chat this morning.

What is becoming more apparent is how the modules seem to be crossing over and even though Joy is currently on module one, how her experience at an audition, linked into my research area.  Also how although Sam and I are both on module two and looking at very different areas, others in the chat were able to assist in our thought processes. Who is the audience?  Who are we communicating to?  These were questions brought up by Julie on module 3 but the question relates to all of the modules.  The audience (our assessors) must also be taken into account no matter, what an interesting journey this may be for us as individuals and that thought needs to play a role throughout the modules.  Adesola spoke to me during module one about being selective in which stories are told because an audience cannot hear everything about ones entire journey through the modules, so the idea of audience has been there from moment one.

I find Sam's area of research is really interesting (although it did not ever cross my mind to cover this particular area).  The idea about movement and music seems quite dense with so many view points and avenues that could be taken.  

In relation to this, I was interested in the Cunningham 'experience'.  For me as a student feeling completely disconnected from the entire genre because of the 'non use' of music but now looking at Cunningham from a theoretical position, I am seeing a beauty and 'danger' that I had not noticed as a student.  How does one connect with movement and no music. How does one disconnect from the sound but continue to move? Cunningham talked about music and movement sharing the space but not necessarily being connected.

When watching the Cunningham company performing together with either no music or with some possible sound cues, one wonders what the internal rhythm the dancers have to find but also as a group.  How much understanding of each others internal pace, rhythm they need to understand and how much they have to rely on intuition and the other senses for unison work and for lifts etc?

Google Merce Cunningham Working Process- 
Its only 3mins 43sec but it says a lot in a short time.

The area that I have taken away from the chat that I need to use for my immediate work is that I now need to get out and talk to people.  I realise I still have a ton of reading (and finding) to do but I also realise that the crucial element missing from my work is actually getting out there and hearing what others in 'my world' have to say.  Thanks Sam!

There is a dancer on the Island from New York, just here for a few more days, so I will check in with her and do a pilot interview and as someone else said on the chat, throw things out to family members and friends to get another point of view.

Thanks all.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Research/ special interest groups


In order to understand how I will approach my research, I have begun to read and discuss a variety of options noting that from the beginning there are opposing views on where a researcher should begin their inquiry. Much of this immediate controversy is related to which Ontological and subsequently, Epistemological standpoints you arrive at your inquiry. Taking this element for granted can result in ‘failure to understand that there is more than one Ontological perspective’ Grix, J. (2004) cited Mason (1998: 12-13) Research Methods in Education.

As I continue to weave my way through the variety of researchers and authors, I realise how true the statement above will be in my own work and how one could end up in a maze of misunderstanding without clearly defining ones own stance and then following through.

Grix compares ontology and epistemology to the ‘footings’ of a house, meaning that they are the foundations of the entire structure, without which nothing can hang safely.  He believes that ones stance cannot be chopped and changed and therefore if today we are researching from a positivist standpoint, tomorrow we must do the same.

Reading The Good Research Guide, Denscombe, M. (2010), has made clearer the difference between research strategies and methods. Once a strategy is chosen, it may be that more than one method is used in order to carry out the research.  A point noted is that although some methods lend themselves more to a particular strategy, the researcher always has, in Denscombes words, ‘an element of choice’   

A Guide for First-Time Researchers has lain out the pros and cons of each research strategy with a focus on smaller scale projects.

I have found both of the above useful as well as Research Methods in Education Cohen, L. Manion, L. Morrison, K. (2011)

I am now at the stage of looking at my Area of interest/question (again and again!) and deciding which strategy is appropriate to my question and then which methods I will use to take the research to the next stage.

Any comments appreciated.

Some of us have found it difficult to connect to linked-in and so Sam Kettle and I would be happy to converse through this means instead and begin to get a sense of each others' journeys and begin to create ‘special interest groups’

My area of interest is connected to peoples’ thoughts and reflections as they move.  This could be in terms of use of imagery, positive or negative thoughts (can or cant do), perhaps something a teacher has said in the past that enables your body to remember a good pirouette preparation or maybe word said in the brain or out loud to talk oneself into jumping higher or not opting out of the grand allegro or......

What do you reflect on as you move?  Maybe in your next class try and catch yourself just as you hear the introduction to the plies or triplets or just before you start class.

I would love to hear your thoughts and if anyone feels that their area connects, it would be great to begin a dialogue.

Hopefully hear from some of you on Sunday Skype.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Hi all MAPPers,
Can anyone assist in the location of linked-in?  I have come across it accidentally on two occasions but cannot navigate myself back.  Does anyone use it?  When I tried to join it said that I had to wait for permission from the creator (Adesola).  Is this the linked-in area being used or is there another?????

Hope to hear from someone particularly those on module 3 who will be/have used it.


Friday, 11 March 2016

dance sport and female bodies

Following on from the last skype chat, this is something that might be of interest Sinead and all.  Its not very long

The paper touches on dance as a sport and the sexualisation of girls.  It also talks a bit about the reasons girls choose this type of dance - ironically often because there is no other choice and they know and have been exposed to nothing else.

The Politics of Personal Pedagogy Examining Teacher Identities
Julie Kerr-Berry, Ed.D., Karen Clemente, Ed.D., and Doug Risner, Ph.D.