Next Article in Journal
Violence Exposure and Mental Health of College Students in the United States
Next Article in Special Issue
Effects of Dance Movement Therapy on Adult Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Previous Article in Journal
Protective Activity of Erythropoyetine in the Cognition of Patients with Parkinson’s Disease
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Aesthetic Turn in Mental Health: Reflections on an Explorative Study into Practices in the Arts Therapies
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(6), 52;

Sources of Embodied Creativity: Interactivity and Ideation in Contact Improvisation

Cognitive Science Platform, University of Vienna, Liebiggasse 5, Vienna 1010, Austria
Dance Studies, Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland, 26 Symonds Street, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2360 KB, uploaded 29 May 2018]   |  


Drawing on a micro-phenomenological paradigm, we discuss Contact Improvisation (CI), where dancers explore potentials of intercorporeal weight sharing, kinesthesia, touch, and momentum. Our aim is to typologically discuss creativity related skills and the rich spectrum of creative resources CI dancers use. This spectrum begins with relatively idea-driven creation and ends with interactivity-centered, fully emergent creation: (1) Ideation internal to the mind, the focus of traditional creativity research, is either restricted to semi-independent dancing or remains schematic and thus open to dynamic specification under the partner’s influence. (2) Most frequently, CI creativity occurs in tightly coupled behavior and is radically emergent. This means that interpersonal synergies emerge without anybody’s prior design or planned coordination. The creative feat is interpersonally “distributed” over cascades of cross-scaffolding. Our micro-genetic data validate notions from dynamic systems theory such as interpersonal self-organization, although we criticize the theory for failing to explain where precisely this leaves skilled intentionality on the individuals’ part. Our answer is that dancers produce a stream of momentary micro-intentions that say “yes, and”, or “no, but” to short-lived micro-affordances, which allows both individuals to skillfully continue, elaborate, tweak, or redirect the collective movement dynamics. Both dancers can invite emergence as part of their playful exploration, while simultaneously bringing to bear global constraints, such as dance scores, and guide the collective dynamics with a set of specialized skills we shall term emergence management. View Full-Text
Keywords: co-creation; dance improvisation; interaction dynamics; creative mechanisms typology; self-organization; expert skills co-creation; dance improvisation; interaction dynamics; creative mechanisms typology; self-organization; expert skills

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Kimmel, M.; Hristova, D.; Kussmaul, K. Sources of Embodied Creativity: Interactivity and Ideation in Contact Improvisation. Behav. Sci. 2018, 8, 52.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Behav. Sci. EISSN 2076-328X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top