To Know, or not to know?


So, does it enhance your enjoyment of a work of dance if you are aware of certain facts, such as the genre, choreographer, any story line or thematic thread?  Or, is it better to go in with absolutely no preconceived notions, and just react to what is before you?  That is the question, and some various presenters have come up with some interesting solutions:

Do you agree, that not knowing is a better way to go (after all, there’s no bias to affect you, based on previous likes/dislikes) or that marketing based on a choreographer’s reputation is essential in the digital world (will you go to a dance event that you know NOTHING about before hand)?

Give me some feedback, after you’ve read through the article from The Guardian.

5 thoughts on “To Know, or not to know?

  1. Hello Professor Chenoweth,

    In my opinion, I would prefer watching a piece without knowing the choreographer’s name, the genre or any detail of the work. I would enjoy more the piece, and I would be more fun and interested. I liked how they did this experiment at the Dance Umbrella festival. I think that when people don’t know the choreographer’s name, genre or the details of the dance before watching the dance is better for audience and dancers. This experiment will cause that the public is going to be more focused on the quality of the pedestrian actions and performance of the piece in more detail. Also, the dancers would move freely without being pre-judge. On the other hand, when people know this information before watching the dance such as the choreographer’s name, genre or other aspects of the piece, they would have expectations of how is going to be the piece or the choreography.

    Virginia Barbosa,
    A student of dance 6.

  2. I personally would enjoy the anonymous side of watching dance over knowing. When you have no knowledge of the choreographer and pieces being performed you have to have a unbiased opinion of the pieces you see. You can’t judge a specific piece based on the artist and what they do well or don’t do well in your already formed opinion. Also if you dislike a choreographers work but they try something new you would have a more open mind to what they present. Coming in knowing nothing gives you no expectations to hold the performance up to. Overall it gives you a clear mind to go in with to enjoy the piece even more than you would with knowledge and expectations.

    Laura Greene-Dance 6 student

  3. Hi Professor Chenoweth!

    I like to know what I’m getting! I feel happy knowing that when I order a soy mocha Frappuccino with a banana at Starbuck’s in Park City Utah, it will be just as delicious tasting as it is when I get it here from my La Sierra Riverside drive-thru. The Guardian article, “Unknown Pleasures: Do We Enjoy Art More If It’s Anonymous,” argues that Dance Umbrella director Emma Gladstone’s
    goal is to “focus on appreciating the work, minus preconceptions.” But the writer also talks about neuroscience, the psychology of brand loyalty, and how famous choreographers Matthew Bourne and Wayne McGregor put their own name into titles, “because it’s their reputation that sells tickets.” I might “like” an unknown work of art hanging in a museum, but I most definitely will seek it out, remember it better, and appreciate it more if I know it’s a Van Gogh!

  4. Dancers like to let their boy do the talking. But being a part of the audience in my opinion I would like to figure out what the dance is about but on the other hand I would like to know about the choreographer. It can be compared to watching a moving for the first time. No one like to be told what the movie is about before seeing it. In fact, people get really upset when this happens. Just the creators name alone tells a lot about their work. It was a really good idea to put this question to the test and conduct an experiment with the audience, but it could be hard if they are shown a trailer, rehearsal clips and interviews. Just like a new movie, producer’s only show clips or trailer as a teaser to get people to go see the movie, which raises expectations and excitement when watching the performance. Also, with that excitement and that teasers as to what the movie is about, the audience will pay attention to the performance being curious as to what going to happen or the end results.. It’s somewhat different to see something for yourself than someone telling you the meaning of something. You walk away with a better understanding and possibly can relate to the performance. Like the phrase “you have to see it to believe it”. Seeing first hand and not hearing what someone telling you. You will walk away admiring and respecting the creator.

    “Maximizing our enjoyment of something, then context and expectations are exactly what we need”,

  5. I for one would appreciate the unknown side of watching dance over knowing. When you have no learning of the choreographer and the piece being performed you need to have a fair sentiment of the dance piece .Imagine that when individuals don’t have the foggiest idea about the choreographer’s name, classification or the points of interest of the dance before watching the performance is better for crowd and artists. The general crowd will be more focused around the performers activities and execution of the piece in more detail.

    Bj Ojo – Dance 6 Student

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