The Construction of Authenticity in the Creative Process: Lessons from Choreographers of Contemporary Dance



The authenticity literature has systematically examined the producer and product related authenticity, while the conceptualization and empirical examination of the construction of authenticity in the creative process are lacking. This study aims to address this lacuna and adopts Carroll and Wheaton's typology of type and moral authenticity to examine how contemporary dance choreographers construct authenticity during the creation of a new choreography. Our analysis of data from 23 contemporary dance companies reveals that the two meaning of authenticity mutually and dynamically constitute one another in the three- phase creative process. First, choreographers construct moral authenticity through transformation of form. Evoking moral authenticity supports deconstruction of established artistic dance forms and imports new movements from bricolage of techniques. Second, choreographers construct type authenticity through wrapping expression. Evoking type authenticity facilitates the deconstruction of the values attached to the bricolage of techniques into artistic dance aesthetics. Finally, choreographers evoke both moral and type meanings of authenticity through a creative process of reconstruction. Our primary and noteworthy finding reveals how the construction of authenticity in the creative process of a new choreography, and the dynamics between the two meanings of authenticity, serve a significant role, as a means of communication among the involved actors - choreographer, dancers and audience, thereby enabling the creative process.