According to Deleuze:          

Everything has a story. Philosophy tells stories as well. Stories with concepts. Cinema tells stories with blocks of movements/duration. Painting invents entirely different types of blocks. These are neither blocks of concepts nor blocks of movements/duration, but blocks of lines/colours. Music invents other types of blocks, equally specific. Beside all this, science is no less creative. I don't really see oppositions between the sciences and the arts. (
Kaufman & Heller (Eds.), 1998, p. 15)    

A shared process of creation according to Deleuze is something that makes it possible for people from different fields to talk with one another. However, communication is possible because of these shared patterns in the work of individuals. He writes:


It is not that talk of creation took place – creation, to the contrary, is something very solitary – but it is in the name of my creation that I have something to say to someone. (Kaufman & Heller (Eds.), 1998, p. 16).


Having this in mind, a question of the interconnection of the elements from different disciplines rises assuming that if there is a similar pattern of thought becoming body in one discipline, it could find its place in another and that way enrich the process of creation. Deleuze also claims that because of the specifics of each discipline, philosophers inventing concepts, filmmakers – blocks of movements/duration, scientists – functions, an idea or a thought that rises in each of their minds is an idea that was born out of this or within this specifics (Kaufman & Heller (Eds.), 1998, p. 15). However, closing oneself only in the realm of arts, it is evident that apart from differences in the work specifics of different art forms, there are some overlappings.


In the words of Kandinsky, 'double sound - cold tension of the straight lines, warm tension of the curved lines, the rigid to the infinity, the flexible to the compact' (Goodman, 1976, p. 45).


It is true that many art fields interconnect with one another, roughly speaking, painting rises from playing with colour, shape and movement, cinema adds up light and sound, duration. Movement adds up the body. However, there is no doubt that at times we can hear a painting and see a dance in it or it dancing. As there is no doubt there are colour and shape in dance.  


Preston-Dunlop, (1998, p. 121) writes:


The basic elements out of which movement design is made are

the curved and the straight line.


The elements occur overtly and geometrically

in the movement material of abstract spatial dances

as the content of the work.

They are used on individual bodies,

in group designs,

in counterpointed and random ensemble work.

They occur in gestures, in postures,

in motion and positions and floor patterns.



The patterns at times can appear or bloom with the use of the material in a slightly different manner. The sound recording of ferry's machinery has a strong sense of rhythmical repetition at times aligned and sometimes breaking in relation to the pace of changing drawings. The sound recording of a ferry from passenger's position could be called noise, or something completely familiar, something that we do not pay attention in the real-time, however, as a sound listened in physical movement lab could awaken certain senses in the body of a dancer. Burrows writes about habits: another approach, however, might be to try to render them visible again, enough that the meanings and feelings are rediscovered and what has been taken for granted is cherished (2010, p.7).





The last insight from the experiment is related to the Pareyson's theory of formativity that 'opposes the concept of art as form, in which the term "form" means organism, formed physicality with a life of its own, harmoniously balanced and governed by its own laws; and to the concept of expression it opposes that of production as forming action' (Eco,  1989, p. 158). The drawings and sounds (created/recorded in a certain manner) appear as stimuli maintaining their creation processes. In other words, as separate creations with a potential of rebirth in the body of a dancer, and therefore, become immediately mediated through the capacities of this realm. Even more, mediated through every single one of the bodies in its own way. This theory could beautifully reveal the merge of vulnerability and power of the body to the stimulus because of its individuality.


Another way of looking at this is the difference of responses to the same stimulation applying linguistic theories. Goodman in his book Languages of art: An approach to a theory of symbols  (1976) includes the insights of anthropologist Ray L. Birdwhistell, according to whom:


Insofar as I have been able to determine, just as there are no universal words, sound complexes, which carry the same meaning the world over, there are no body motions, facial expressions or gestures which provoke identical responses the world over. A body can be bowed in grief, in humility, in laughter, or in readiness for aggression. A “smile” in one society portrays friendliness, in another embarrassment and, in still another, may contain a warning that, unless tension is reduced, hostility and attack will follow.(1976, p. 49)


A clear difference between the participants is noticeable. While one's body was responding in a more inner movement with slightly visible impulses, the others were moving all their bodies, using lots of space and at times interacting with the projection itself. 'Each dancer’s imagination is different, inevitably there will be as many solutions as dancers. These solutions can be vastly different' (Kirsh et al. 2009, p. 192), and it might just be true that dancer's imagination during a rapid, unexpected stimulation can reveal itself more or even fully when without the presence of conscious. Can become material in the process of creation.


The word material is approached from a slightly different perspective by Burrows, however, his thought reveals the other corresponding aspect: a gap. He writes: another way of looking at it might be this: that ‘material’ is what happens in the gap between two movements. This puts the emphasis on composition, on the placing of two things in relation to each other‘ (2010, p. 6). In relation to the previous thought of the somehow unprepared body, a gap could be also approached not only as an essential aspect in the composition but also as a moment of complete vulnerability and nakedness of the movement. During the physical movement lab, moments of ease in the gap in between the two parts were captured and a sort of direct body – stimulation relation during the changing moments of the drawings, a pause, a gap in between the release of an impulse and the contemplation of it. 


Further researches on the potential of disciplinary crossings are planned.



Burrows, J. (2010). A Choreographer’s handbook. Nova Iorque & Londres: Routledge.

Eco, U. (1989). The open work. Harvard University Press.

Goodman, N. (1976). Languages of art: An approach to a theory of symbols. Hackett publishing.

Hay, D. (2010). No Time to Fly. Motion Bank.

Katz, A. N., Cacciari, C., Gibbs Jr, R. W., & Turner, M. (1998). Figurative language and thought. Oxford University Press.

Kaufman, E., & Heller, K. J. (Eds.). (1998). Deleuze & Guattari: New mappings in politics, philosophy, and culture. University of Minnesota Press.

Kirsh, D., Muntanyola, D., Jao, R. J., Lew, A., & Sugihara, M. (2009, October). Choreographic methods for creating novel, high quality dance. Proceedings, DESFORM 5th international workshop on design & semantics & form (pp. 188-195).

Marchant, J. (2015). Dance improvisation: why warm up at all?. Brolga: An Australian Journal about Dance, (40), 7.

Millard, O. (2015). What’s the score?: Using scores in dance improvisation. Brolga: An Australian Journal about Dance, (40), 45–56.

Preston-Dunlop, V. (1998). Looking at dances: a choreological perspective on choreography. Verve.

*From a talk by Ray L. Birdwhistell, “The Artist, the Scientist and a Smile”, given at the Maryland Institute of Art, December 4, 1964.

In short:


The backstage of weather an art piece, an invention or any other result of any other activity have been always receiving almost the same or at times even bigger interest and curiosity than the result itself. We have always made documentaries, wrote books, articles, interviewed creators and tried in any other possible way reveal the process, what at times provides additional value to the result and sometimes transforms itself into educational material. Regardless of the reasoning, it is clear that getting to know these processes provides a sort of pleasure that perhaps could be associated with the general pleasure of understanding, finding out, knowing.


This work aims to address the creation process as a whole when analysing the stimulus in the realm of dance/physical movement. Stimulus here stands for a (let's call it) external material and the way of using it by a choreographer when working with dancers on improvisation and by dancers when working with their bodies during the improvisation/allowing and searching for an effect, impulse. Score often used as a way of capturing or providing indications for a specific movement, in the carried experiment is approached as a way to transmit a quite abstract stimulation and therefore cause a rise of an idea (a reference to Deleuze) in the body of a dancer. Such elements as sound and drawing are used proposing disciplinary inter-connection and referring to the existence of shared backstage among different disciplines – creation.  




physical movement, score, stimulation, (disciplinary) creation processes, syntax and semantics in creation.



Collective creation or ‘creative process distributed over many individuals’ (Kirsh, et al. 2009) requires strong methodological preparation. Out of all performing arts, dance/physical theatre perhaps could be distinguished as having little material that work process starts with. One could say that dance approaches more abstract waters. Often without a setting, play or a script a piece of movement starts with an improvisation, however, for it to lead to enriching depths of these waters and pull out a concrete result, stimuli are used.


Apart from the stimulus itself, that will be addressed later on, the way of transmitting it is an important part since we speak about collective creation which success is based on fluid but clear communication.


(Kirsh, et al. 2009) when analysing choreographic methods used by a studied choreographer when working with a dance troupe distinguished seven main communicative devices:

















The choreographer used seven main communicative devices.
(Kirsh, et al. 2009, p. 190)

In Ferry Experiment: Reading Line and Sound participants were proposed to start with a thirteen minutes lasting intro dedicated to the inner movement. A sound of a ferry trip recorded from the passenger's position was played and participants were suggested to lay down on the ground and together with the sound travel through their bodies with an inner movement, paying attention to breathing and trying to release the tension in the body.


The process, since completely individual relaxation of one's body is suggested, could be approached as a warm-up. Marchant (2016) addresses warm-up as approaching the individual needs of a dancer and therefore allowing a smooth transition into improvisation. In the Experiment, with a long-lasting noise in one's years, there is an aim to cause detachment from surroundings and concentration only to one's never-ending inner movement and weight of the body.


This weight then is proposed to interact with separate and at times interconnected drawings projected on the wall of the studio and with the repetitive sound of ferry's machinery. The set of drawings is repeated twice in a different pace of change for an effect of repetition what Burrows approaches as 'a moment of recognition for the audience in a sea of change' (2010, p. 9). By recognising the same drawing a clash of the initial reaction and the comfort of prediction is aimed. However, following more rapid change of drawings is chosen for this comfort to be accumulated and appear as an impulsive but continuous flow.

The main elements circle around the expansion of the movement in space (arrows and circles), dynamics (numbers), and sensorial description with elements such as metal, elevator, etc.   


The aim of Ferry Experiment: Reading Line and Sound, out of which this analysis is rising, is as with the represented draft, stimulate improvisation with a free-to-interpret score.  However, a slightly different approach was taken. As the title indicates, line (with drawing) and sound (with two sound recordings) were chosen as the main tools for stimulation.


A similar approach was found in Deborah Hay's solo dance score 'No Time to Fly' (2010) when using drawing and text such as 'joy and sorrow at once' (Hay, 2010 p. 5). An emotional setting is proposed but in a quite abstract way, by stimulating interpretation.

However, depending on the focus of the choreographer (if it is a request of a clear thought/movement transmission or guidance to improvisation) communicative devices also gain or lose their functionality. Score at times approached as a way of capturing the movement for its later recall, to archive or as a part of the performance when reading in real-time (J. Burrows & M. Fargion), other times is used as a tool for the creation of something new.

It is also worth mentioning that a big scale between abstract guidance and direct indication could/should be set. Millard (2015, p. 48) writes:

Anna Halprin felt liberated by working out that she could vary her work in terms of how 'open' or 'closed' she made the scores she worked with. Halprin even gave some of her scores a number from one to ten with the most open being one. One of the purposes that served was to let dancers know what to expect.

A draft of a score used in an earlier movement lab is being presented (Score for improvisation, Pundzaite G. (2020)) as an example that indicated quite abstract guidelines and proposes directly only the sequence of improvisation.

There is an aim to leave the dancer with the score and ask to approach it not as an indication of what to do but rather as a source of information for an individual search, wander around signs, symbols and meanings of them.





(linguistics) the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language. (Oxford Dictionary of English, 2021)



the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning. The two main areas are logical semantics, connected with matters such as sense and reference and presupposition and implication, and lexical semantics, concerned with the analysis of word meanings and relations between them(Oxford Dictionary of English, 2021)


Syntax and semantics are brought as concepts to the creation and use of the score. Separate drawings were presented detached from one another as single words and at times together forming a phrase. A similar tendency was noticed in bodily reaction to drawings. Often a captured movement of the line caused a direct repeating of it or interaction (extracts 4, 5), however, a moment of contact improvisation between two of the participants when observing the final drawing (the merge of all the separate drawings) took place. It is assumed that a search for the contact was stimulated by the numerous crossings of lines visible in the projected image. 


The semantic approach to the stimulation of drawings finds it's base in the emotional stimulation rising from them. Generally light and playful shapes at times reminding a joyful face or a grimace of a character or odd but cheerfully animated bodily posture found its place in the actions of participants. Playful and carless movements were recorded. 

However, it is also worth to pay attention to the fragility of interpretation both when observing a drawing and when observing a movement of the dancer reacting to it. Goodman writes:


A notable difference is that since, strictly speaking, only sentient beings or events can be sad, a picture is only figuratively sad. A picture literally possesses a gray color, really belongs to the class of gray things; but only metaphorically does it possess sadness or belong to the class of things that feel sad. Expression, then, can be tentatively and partially characterized as involving figurative possession. This may explain our feeling that expression is somehow both more direct and less literal than representation. (1976, p. 50 - 51)


The further analysis of the score's stimulative background and effect leads to the study of thought, language and understanding their ways of function. It is questionable if when transmitting a drawing, dancer grasps the form of it (referring to the language, syntax of lines) or the feeling of it, perhaps a thought that stands behind it (referring to semantics). There are reasons to believe that since such observation could be approached as a communicative process, a dancer might read the drawing as a form because of it's clear and recognizable grammar, however, if the drawing was created when generating certain thought, this form can be representing it and find it's recognition in the observer. Katz et al. write:


Unlike thought, language has traditionally been assigned a social communicative role. Although the communicative functions of language undoubtedly are, like thought, based on cognitive structures and processes – that is, a langue of Saussure, or the competence-based grammars described by Chomsky – language has an interpsychic component missing in our conceptions of thought. A generated thought has no social impact unless put into some medium of behavior; spoken language has a social impact whenever someone else is present. (1998, p.5)


Even if we are applying linguistic theories to the artistic realm and presumptions remain in a hypothetical phase, such transdisciplinary approach finds its reasoning in disciplinary interconnection. 

extract from Deborah Hay's solo dance score 'No Time to Fly' (2010) p. 5