Britton, John (2010) The pursuit of pleasure. Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 1 (1). pp. 36-54. ISSN 1944-3927

This article argues for placing the personal pursuit of pleasure at the heart of training processes. The article draws on the work of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who developed descriptors of the subjective experience of enjoyment - a state he named 'Optimal Experience' or 'flow'. It maps these descriptors against the work of Barba, Zarrilli and Meyerhold and draws extensively on the author's own practice as a psychophysical trainer of performers. The author suggests how a detailed understanding of what pleasure is, and how it is achieved, offers trainees a rigorous perspective to help structure, reflect on and take responsibility for their own engagement with training. Finally the author suggests that the paradigm shift that can result from a trainee's acknowledgement of the intrinsic pleasure of her work on herself shifts the roles in the training space - the trainer becoming guide and the trainee becoming autodidact.

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