In writing this paper, we—Jill Crosby and Ann Dils—render into text six years of sporadic dialogues. Through our explanation and examination of the 1994 movement analysis and description project that began our exchanges and discussion of subsequent readings, we hope to explore important aspects of dance studies research. Our use and understanding of Laban-based movement analysis as a tool for understanding movement as it is felt and observed, awareness of concepts of dialogue and the dialogical process as potential frameworks, critical lenses, and theoretical bases for dance studies research, and adaptation of the interpretive paradigm to suit dance research are especially important to this exploration. Little of our text is written in dialogue form (Crosby:, Dils:); rather, we hope, by drawing examples from our project, Crosby's dissertation, and the works of other researchers, to capture the bubbling-up of understanding that stems from the cooperative and confrontational exchanges of dance studies research.
Over a three-month period in 1994, we conducted a movement analysis and description project as part of Crosby's work for her doctoral dissertation, “Will the Real Jazz Dance Please Stand Up? A Critical Examination of the Roots and Essence of Jazz Dance with Implications for Education.” Crosby investigated the aesthetic shapings of jazz expression inclusive of its West African roots from a cross-disciplinary perspective, using ethnographic methods as tools for understanding artistic form (Crosby 1995). An arts educator and dancer, Crosby wanted to establish a pool of descriptive and potentially inherent characteristics for music-based jazz dance. These characteristics would comprise a personal definition for the form and provide Crosby with a point of departure for a discussion of jazz as a movement tradition.