Play Meter: Investigating Play as Process in Movement Work Open Access

McKeough, Merryn (Spring 2022)

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Video games provide a platform for everyday performance, allowing players to demonstrate practiced abilities while engaging deeply with a digitally mediated environment. Dance asks viewers and performers alike for similar investment. Inspired by the performative aspects of video games, this project looks at the role of play in dance. I researched video game design theory and applied my research to my dancemaking process, focusing on play as a process-driven experience.

I created a movement work exploring different aspects of play, examining themes of engagement, collaboration, effort, fun, and the value of process over outcome. My research focused on the relationship between the final piece, Play Meter, and my choreographic process. This process was rooted in game structures, generating movement through play. 

Table of Contents

I. Introduction - 1

Inspiration - 1

Dance and Play - 3

Cast - 8

II. Movement Generation - 9

Video Game Action Words - 9

Video Game Dialogue -16

Just Dance: Learning by Doing - 20

Practice Mode and Minigames - 23

III. Dance Production - 25

Costumes - 25

Bouncy Balls - 26

Text - 28

Music - 31

Lighting - 32

IV. Conclusion - 32

Audience Feedback - 33

Dancer Feedback - 34

Process and Outcome - 38

V. Appendices - 39

Appendix A: Promotional Materials - 39

Appendix B: Concert Program - 47

Appendix C: Play Meters - 49

Appendix D: Select Rehearsal Plans and Notes - 50

Bibliography - 53 

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