Intersubjective Discourse and Adjudication in Dance: Aesthetic Mapping of Judging at the Dancing England Rapper Tournament

This is an investigation into the aesthetic concepts and strategies used by judges at the Dancing England Rapper Tournament to evaluate rapper sword dancing. Using a form of video-assisted interview inspired I am working to create temporal-aesthetic “maps” of competition dances, through which I am able to identify and discuss the marked, “aesthetically dense” moments of dance in contrast to relatively unmarked space surrounding them.Screen of danceI am interested in the layers of intersubjective discourse that allow adjudicators to transform an aesthetic experience into a primarily quantitative evaluation. I follow this discourse from the official competition rules and guidelines, to openly discussed “common sense,” personal opinion, and finally unconscious bias. Using the maps of aesthetic importance as my guide, I investigate the shared and individual techniques of judging. I deal with the cognitive construction of the dance; whether as a sum of parts adding up to a score, or as a conceptualized ideal dance from which points may be deducted. I explore major points of divergence between different judges’ preferences and judging techniques as a result of personal dance history. Finally I will investigate the effect of my research on the structure of the competition itself and potential future investigation.