Dance: A Discourse Mode

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This paper aims at clarifying the struggle for the placement of dance in the realm of academia primarily focusing on whether it is possible to view dance as a means of communication which is similar to language discourse. Building on the works of prominent people in the field of linguistics and communication (Barton, 2000; Gee, 1999; Kress, 2001, 2000; and Street, 1994) and also the works of prominent dance academicians (Susan Foster, 1986; Amy Koritz, 1996; Susan Manning, 1996; and Cynthia Novak, 1990) this paper’s main focus is to highlight the issues of multimodality and the place dance has in this realm. Specifically the paper focuses on the similarities between the structure of dance (choreography) and discourse analysis. One piece of data was used for this paper: a dance titled The Beginning of Rebirth danced to a recitation of the poem Joy and Sorrow by Gibran Khalil Gibran. The analysis was done through the application of the Discourse Analysis Theory and Method by James Paul Gee (1999). By showing the similarities in development of a dance and the tasks of language this paper helps to illuminate the issue of multimodality and the placement of dance along the continuum of communication.


Keywords: Dance, Communication, Linguistics, Discourse Analysis, Multimodal
Stream: Art and Education
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Nadra Assaf

Instructor, English and Dance
Humnanities Division in the School of Arts and Sciences, Lebanese American University

Jbeil, Lebanon

Ms. Nadra Assaf is a holder of a B.S. in Finance,from Louisiana State University, B.A. in Theater from Centenary College, Louisiana, U.S.A an M.F.A. in Dance with honors from Sarah Lawrence College, U.S.A, and is currently awaiting her viva for an Ed.D. in TESOL at Leicester University, England. She has been teaching English and dance at LAU for over sixteen years. Her recent major theater productions include: Life Goes On (2003) and The Quest (2004). She is the Artistic Director and founder Al-Sarab Alternative Dance School, founding member of IDO Lebanon, a member of DBM., and Judge/Instructor on several TV programs concerning performing arts. She has presented conference papers one of which is The Identity of Dance: A Modern Form of Communication. (2002 – A Pedagogy of Language in the Arab World). Her research interests include: dance as a communicative medium, women in dance, third language acquisition, discourse analysis as applied to non-verbal mediums.

Ref: A07P0042