Finnish Freelance Dance Artists Brought into Dialogue with Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology

Living Transformative Lives explores the life-worlds of Finnish contemporary freelance dance artists through a phenomenological lens. It examines interview material produced by four Finnish dance artists and outlines an approach to interpreting this material mainly through Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology.

As the title suggests this research arrives at the conclusion that the life of a freelance dance artist is basically concerned with a questioning and transformative mode of existence. It argues that these artists probe into all the dimensions related to their artistic lives and that they are in a process of artistic becoming that engulfs their total being. The book shows that freelance dance artists scrutinize the heritage of contemporary dance, the manner in which their local field of dance operates, the roles of the dance teacher, the dancer and the choreographer, the dancing body, and themselves while pursuing their artistic goals in an idiosyncratic fashion. The research discusses these issues in detail.

In making a discriminating reading of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology and utilizing previous phenomenological studies of dance, this book both compliments and develops the emergent tradition of phenomenological research on dance. As it focuses on the life-worlds of Finnish dance artists it also makes an interesting contribution to understanding the actual lives of dance artists and contemporary dance art through a Finnish perspective.