Synergetic Agential Choreography 

A practice-led research thesis submitted in 

partial fulfillment of Liverpool John Moores University’s requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Dawn R. Schultz, PhD  -  Liverpool John Moores University

Transart Institute for Creative Research

Supervisors:  Prof Laura González & Mark Roughley

The Impetus, Project # 4, 2022, Photo by Dawn Schultz

This research examines how combining painting and choreography can reshape artistic identities and challenge traditional dance forms.  From ballet's strict structure to modern dance's liberated expression, this study explores the possibilities, obstacles, and progression of transitioning from established techniques to more unbridled forms of artistic expression.  Incorporating diverse artistic mediums, the work aims to illuminate the transformative power of cross-disciplinary practice in broadening traditional dance aesthetics.

The study introduces a new method called Synergetic Agential Choreography, which incorporates fluid acrylic flow paintings created by dancers to inspire movement.  Through a seven-step process, dancers translate their visual art into dance, freeing themselves from established techniques.  By emphasizing the dancer's connection to their artwork, this method enhances and enlightens the execution of their movements.  Synergetic Agential Choreography is grounded in the theory of Agential Realism, developed by physicist Karan Barad, which acknowledges the interconnectedness of human and nonhuman elements.  The study explores the dynamic interplay between dancers, paintings, and choreography.  Drawing on Karen Barad's conceptualization of the world as an ever-evolving network of entities, this theoretical framework recognizes the continual transformation of material forms.

The study concludes this approach enhances choreography and fosters personal development and a deeper understanding of the artistic identities of dancers.  It examined eight projects designed to explore creative expression, underscoring the power of cross-disciplinary art.  The research emphasizes the benefits of collaboration across the artistic disciplines of painting and dance, illustrating the capacity to harmonize freedom with structure, technique with creativity, and tradition with innovation.  In essence, the materialization of a choreographic process through a cross-discipline approach can be the catalyst for artistic growth.

How to navigate this website:

Please browse the menu above and select any option you'd like to review the research.  Each section is designed to be self-contained and easy to understand, so you can click through in any order you like. 

The Volume II section describes the Synergetic Agential Choreography method, including steps and diagrams illustrating the process.  In the Studio Laboratory section, you will find a drop-down with eight sub-pages of the projects created during the research.  In each sub-page, you will be guided through a narrative of text, images, and video clips to guide you through the methods practiced within each project.  Scrolling through the Performances section, you will view the culminating choreography developed from each project and read a reflection written right after the completion of each project.  The Volume I section contains a downloadable PDF file of the written thesis accompanying this research project.     

The sections, including About Me, Project Timeline, Acknowledgments, and Bibliography, offer background details.