Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Liberal Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Eugene Clasby

Second Committee Member

Otavio Bueno

Third Committee Member

Frank E. Cooper


The goal of the paper is to develop a framework in which to ground the analysis of the aesthetics of Western concert dance, particularly contemporary concert dance, in order to help dancers, choreographers, critics, and the general dance audience understand and discuss dance from the perspective of a common intellectual ground. Examined are the relationship between epochs in concert dance and the corresponding aesthetic theories and the elements that differentiate and unify contemporary concert dance from other Western concert dance, including the unique spatiotemporal nature of dance and the simultaneous presentation of universal human-ness and individual truth via the kinesthetic empathy of viewer and dancer. A brief explanation of phenomenology and of its parallels to the consciousness required of dancer, choreographer and viewer supports a phenomenological approach to a theory of Western contemporary concert dance as most relevant at this time.


dance; contemporary dance; aesthetics of dance; phenomenology; consciousness in dance