Investigating the effects of applied somatic principles on perceived stage presence
Karine Rathle, MSc; Edel Quin, MSc, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
In order to advance the dialogue on the importance of stage presence as an element of performance, the aim of this study is to investigate the effects of somatic interventions on dancers’ stage presence. Four female contemporary dancers volunteered to participate in the study. Three qualified assessors were recruited as volunteer panellists. A series of intervention sessions using somatic principles was devised by the researcher and tailored for each of the participants. In general, principles of breath, imagery, rest and touch were used with all participants. Triangulation of the data was achieved by employing three different collection methods. Each dancer’s performance was evaluated pre- and post-intervention by the panelists using the Test for Evaluating Proficiency in Dance (Chatfield, 2009). Following the post-intervention performance, the researcher conducted one-to-one semi-structured interviews with each participant and each panel member in attendance. Verbal feedback from the participants was collected during the intervention sessions. The data reveal positive perceptions from the participants concerning benefits derived for their dance technique, performance quality, and stage presence. Themes relating to body awareness, confidence, and the participants’ overall experience of the interventions emerged prominently during data analysis. The main findings indicate that the integration of somatic principles into dance practice was perceived as beneficial overall to all involved in the study. It is concluded that the somatic interventions enhanced the dancers’ confidence, body awareness, movement dynamics, and clarity of intention in their movements, elements of performance that all the participants considered to be of importance to their stage presence.