Adaptation and empathy : intercultural communication in a choreographic project
Stock, Cheryl F. (2012) Adaptation and empathy : intercultural communication in a choreographic project. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 33(4), pp. 445-462.
The tricky terrain of intercultural communication within the pressure-cooker environment of creating new performance work is explored through the experiences of five Australians working with 55 artists in Hanoi, Vietnam on a project called Through the Eyes of the Phoenix. Key cultural communication issues such as the concept of ‘face’, identity, translation, adaptability, ambiguity tolerance, empathy, enmeshment and the development of shared understandings are examined in relation to theories of high and low context cultures and individualist collectivist frameworks. The experiences of both Australian and Vietnamese artists are foregrounded, revealing the importance of other intercultural communication modes such as visual, kinaesthetic and tactile languages as well as the languages of their art forms. Immersion in social activities and the importance of the emotional domain are also highlighted as essential factors to survive and thrive in intense creative collaborations across cultures. These dance perspectives, embedded in practice, provide alternative contributions to the messy complexities of intercultural communication.
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