Dance as moving art is an adequate medium for exploring visual perception and the aesthetic value of movements. The aesthetic experience in dance movements and performances was investigated over the last two decades. Still, research on stage setups in dance is severely underrepresented despite their importance in dance choreographies. The study aimed to assess dancers (hip-hop and modern dance) and non-dancers' aesthetic evaluation of three different prototypical movements performed on five prototypical stage setups. N=27 dancers (hip-hop and modern) and non-dancers evaluated various movements performed on different stage setups on their perceived aesthetic. It was hypothesized that symmetrical stage setups and a fast movement or a movement with a wide form were generally preferred. It was furthermore expected that dancers and non-dancers, as well as dancers from different styles, differ in their aesthetic perception of stage setups and dance movements. Results revealed that the movement contract-release and the stage setup V were generally evaluated as most aesthetic. Nevertheless, while hip-hop dancers and non-dancers preferred a free stage setup as the least aesthetic, modern dancers preferred a bloc setup as the least aesthetic. It can be concluded that there is a general preference for movements comprising a large amplitude and range of motions and for stage setups that contain symmetry and a wide form. Thus, symmetry seems essential when developing stage setups in dance. This can be used as a tool trying to delight the observer as well as trying to play with contrast and convergence throughout a whole dance performance.
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