Cadences of Choreomusicality: Investigating the Relationship Between Sound and Movement in Staged Performances of Popping and Animation in the United Kingdom





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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


This practice-led doctoral research explores the relationship between staged performances of popping, closely related movement practices such as animation (in dance) and music in the United Kingdom. Through an experiential, choreographic and critical methodology, I consider the ways that popping artists are able to shift, bend and distort perceptions of their performances through complex uses of musicality. Popping is a dance form that is included under the umbrella of street dance, which encompasses a wide range of dance practices with their origins in social and vernacular contexts. I scrutinise the musical trends and characteristics of popping and animation specifically, despite street dance forms usually being considered as a collective. This extensive focus reveals a range of selective rhythmical and textural nuances that engage the spectator in a world of choreomusical play.

Placing practice at the centre of my investigation, I carry out a series of choreographed projects and reflect on these experiences from the position of dancer/performer and choreographer. Additionally, I consider the work of other popping artists in the field, presenting extensive choreomusical analysis of a selection of their work. Drawing from interviews that I conducted with nine UK street dance artists, I use a range of practitioner-led terminology to demonstrate the metaphorical vocabulary that they have employed to articulate their choreomusical practices and complicate notions of musicality.

Drawing from the fields of choreomusical theory and Animation (in film) studies, I explore the value systems that frame ideas of the music-dance relationship in dance studies, developing an appropriate analytical lens which privileges close relationships between popping, animation and music on stage. I interrogate the anxieties that infiltrate close choreomusical relationships, in order to privilege the complex skill and musical sensitivities that poppers develop through their craft. Given intrinsic connections between animation and Animation, I utilise perspectives from the latter field of study to explore the illusionary potential of the moving body on stage. This, I argue, blurs distinctions between the real and the artificial and ultimately contributes to choreomusical tension and resolve. Through extensive analysis in a range of performance contexts, I contend that this specific, detailed investigation of popping and animation can inform and contribute to the fields of choreomusicology and dance studies.





Research Institute