Dancer improvises a solution
Jonny Almario awarded the 2015 Gavin and Susan Walker Postgraduate Scholarship in Dance
Sometimes life does not go according to plan. For twenty five-year-old Jonny Almario, a career as a dancer was temporarily derailed following a severe shoulder joint injury.
But the shock of the diagnosis, surgery and ongoing physiotherapy has not held the University of Auckland student back. Jonny’s interest and ability to improvise and problem-solve has won him a $5,000 scholarship to research just that – improvisation and problem-solving in dance.
Jonny has just been named the recipient of the 2015 Gavin and Susan Walker Postgraduate Scholarship in Dance. He intends to use the grant to investigate the problem-solving methods employed during an improvised creative process sometimes used in dance and see if these strategies are applicable to other disciplines.
An honours student in the Dance Studies Programme at the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, Jonny initially discovered his passion for dance through street ‘breaking’ as a teenager, a genre that always appealed to him because of its spontaneous, improvised style.
“As a street dancer I learnt to constantly improvise and to do this well, you have to be thinking quickly, all the time. It is also a fundamental element of contemporary dance, but we know very little about what is happening in artists’ minds when they are performing in this way,” says Jonny.
Originally from Tawa in Wellington, the Auckland Central resident already holds a Bachelors of Arts degree with a triple major in psychology, sociology and Japanese.
With such a broad background and a willingness to think outside the box, Jonny hopes his research into dance improvisation and problem-solving will lead to a greater understanding of human consciousness, which will ultimately be applicable to a wide-range of fields.
The University of Auckland’s National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries comprises the Elam School of Fine Arts, School of Architecture and Planning, the Centre for Art Studies, the School of Music and the Dance Studies Programme.