LaMERG Distinguished Lecture Series Talk
“Dance Your Mind: Steps Towards a Generative Theory of Dance Cognition”
Isabelle Charnavel, Harvard University
Wednesday, Oct 26: 5:45 pm. SBS S-207
Abstract: The hypothesis that this talk investigates is that there exists a grammar of dance, i.e., cognitive structures underlying the understanding of dance movement, a counterpart of music in the visual modality. Specifically, we ask: what are the primitive elements of dance (cf. phonology)? What are the rules of combination (cf. prosody/morphology/syntax)? What is the meaning of dance if any (cf. semantics)?
This talk will mainly focus on the second question and examine some organizational principles of the mental representation of dance perception. In particular, the grouping structure of dance will be explored based on Gestalt principles and musical structure. Ultimately, the goal is to elaborate a theory of dance cognition, which should shed further light on cognitive systems by distinguishing between general cognitive properties and modality-specific or domain-specific properties.