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How can we breed choreographers who don’t look like New Yorkers, who don’t look like German expressionists; [dancers] who can acknowledge their part in the arts of the Pacific?

“[I’ve been trying to train] NZ choreographers who had some kind of relationship with the land here… with the ocean… but who also had a sense of what was happening around the world…”

Alison East (M.Phed Otago) is a Senior Teaching fellow in Dance Studies at the University of Otago, and a dancer, choreographer and educator of more than 39 years experience. Her performance work reflects her interest in cross-disciplinary collaborative process and eco-political themes. Current research interests lie in the development of an ecologically based pedagogy for the teaching of dance, assessment of creative process, dance ethnography and, more recently, in dance’s role in inter and trans disciplinary research within the university. Her teaching areas include: somatic education, choreography, dance history and dance and community. She regularly presents and teaches internationally, is a member of several major national and international dance organisations and is a published dance reviewer.

Alison’s broad research interests are within the area of teaching choreographic practice and process and the links between dance practice and education and ecological philosophy. Related to this theme is a strong interest in cross-disciplinary collaborative performance research between the various performing and visual arts. More recently she has turned her attention to the role of dance in a transdisciplinary research setting within the university. She is also researching the efficacy of what she has termed trans-locational education through the facilitation of off-shore dance field trips. She has contributed chapters to several recent publications on the arts in Aotearoa, New Zealand and been a subject of at least two PHd theses on the same subject.

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