Dance across cultures: Joint action aesthetics in Japan and the UK

Monroy-Agamez, Ernesto; Imada, Toshie; Sagiv, Noam and Orgs, Guido. 2022. Dance across cultures: Joint action aesthetics in Japan and the UK. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 40(2), pp. 209-227. ISSN 0276-2374 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Western European and East Asian cultures show marked differences in aesthetic appreciation of the visual arts. East Asian aesthetics are often associated with a holistic focus on balance and harmony, in contrast to Western aesthetics, which often focus on the expression of the individual. In this study, we examined whether cultural differences also exist in relation to the aesthetics of dance. Japanese and British participants completed an online survey in which they evaluated synchronous and asynchronous dance video clips on eight semantic differential scales. We observed that the aesthetics of group dance depend on cultural background. Specifically, British participants preferred asynchronous over synchronous dance whereas Japanese participants equally liked synchronous and asynchronous dance movement. For both cultures, preferences were based on distinct semantic associations with movement synchrony. We argue that cultural differences in aesthetic perception of group dance relate to the culturally specific social signals conveyed by unison movement.

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This study was supported by an ESRC transformative research grant (ES/M000680/2) on “Synchronous movement, cooperation, and the Performing Arts” awarded to Guido Orgs.


aesthetic perception, dance, cross-cultural psychology, Japan, United Kingdom

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12 November 2019Submitted
26 January 2020Accepted
23 March 2021Published Online
July 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

07 Jan 2020 16:03

Last Modified:

05 May 2022 11:13

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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