Practical Course 3 – Improvisation in dance, and beyond

Lecturer: Bettina Bläsing
Fields: Cognitive movement science / practical course



Improvisation (from latin improvidere: not foreseeing) is a highly sophisticated human activity that draws on different forms of memory and cognitive meta-skills, increasing the individual’s flexibility and supporting adaptation under uncertain conditions. For the human mind, improvisation can also be means of exploring and expanding the options to interact with the world, and a source of enjoyment and stimulation. In dance, improvisation is used for different purposes: as a choreographic tool, to inspire novel ideas in composition; in contemporary dance training, to support dancers’ movement experience and bodily creativity; or as artistic practice per se, in live improvisation performance. Dance and movement improvisation offer a multitude of tools and techniques that help to discover new ways of moving, interacting and communicating through the body. In this course we will use a range of these tools to explore and create. We will encounter unexpected tasks and problems, set and break rules, try to escape habits and enjoy wandering astray, making our way through our own danced stories. Starting from movement and dance improvisation tasks, we will enter other areas of life, including the academic, and watch out for novel ways of approaching old problems, embracing the unforeseeable.


Dr. Bläsing

Bettina Bläsing works as a lecturer in rehabilitation science at the Technical University Dortmund. She studied in Bielefeld, Münster and Edinburgh and received her doctorate in biology from Bielefeld University in 2004. As a postdoc, she worked at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Institute for Psychology at Leipzig University, as well as in the “Cognitive Interaction Technology” cluster of excellence and in the “Neurocognition and Movement” working group at Bielefeld University. In 2019 she received the venia legendi in sports science for her habilitation on memory, learning and expertise in dance. Her current focus in research and teaching includes memory processes, improvisation and multimodal perception of body and movement in (inclusive) dance.

Affiliation: TU Dortmund