Embodying interaction in Argentinean tango and sports dance

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In couple dancing dancers are generally required to be able to incorporate the partner’s movement at the level of the dancing. Couple dancing is, in this sense, about embodying interaction. This chapter is focused on analysing the experiences of dancing recreational Argentinean tango and elite sports dance, respectively. The aim is to specifically explore how these cases of dancing together might expand and possibly challenge phenomenological descriptions of reciprocal interaction. The interviewed dancers’ descriptions bring to the fore that when dancing with a partner their sense of movement neither begins nor stops at the surface of their physical body, but rather goes beyond their physicality. In other words, their sense of movement is based on a body extending and includes a sense of the other on the level of operative intentionality. Furthermore, the tango dancers and sports dancers, in their own way, describe that in their shaping of the interaction the body can be experienced as an individualised unity and as extended and shared at the same time. Being elite athletes aiming for the highest scores, the sports dancers specifically bring to the fore that they shift their embodied awareness strategically between extending the body as if shared and controlling their body as if an entity. Accordingly, the practices of the couple dancers indicate that the sense of the other can be deliberately trained and modified. Reciprocal interaction is, to some degree, also trainable on a bodily level.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChoreography and Corporeality : Relay in motion
EditorsThomas F. Defrantz, Philipa Rothfield
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2016
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-54652-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-54653-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
SeriesNew World Choreographies


  • Ballroom Dance
  • Elite Athlete
  • Elite Sport
  • Operative Intentionality
  • Phenomenological Insight


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