An embodied approach to movement archiving, learning and transfer
Forms of movement such as dance, music making, calligraphy involves dexterous movement techniques that combine performance with expression and aesthetics. Nevertheless, little is understood about complex hand dexterity of a virtuoso, or how danseur expertise is acquired, due to the versatility of movement combinations and learning techniques available to complete any given task.
Watching someone else perform is a common approach to observational learning. One of the reasons that observational learning has been found incomplete by a long history of research is that there are important dimensions of the movement that are unavailable to the subject's view; such as pressures, muscular tensions, and external features of the movement that cannot be seen. However, observational learning may not be destined to be incomplete forever as ingenious ways might be devised to make the unobservable observable, the absent present.
In a recent study, Rivière et al. investigated dance movement acquisition by relying on the learners' (the dancers) experiences to better understand different techniques used by dancers during their training. As a result, they identified several concepts as techniques of learning that are observation, repetition, imitation, marking, segmentation, mental simulation and personal adaptation. The latter category is learning progression, consisting of phases such as analysis, integration, fluidity, personalization and implicit variations. These techniques, highlighted by interviewed dancers, were interpreted by the authors as a set of tools that operate as variations on the initial movement. Previous work in motor skill learning has shown the benefit of variation on retention and skill transfer. (Adams, 1987)