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Touch: Experience and knowledge

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This article explores experiences of touch as an embodied form of social interaction and a contributory feature in the generation of knowledge in dance. Touch has a complex and somewhat problematic position in knowledge formation; prized as the parent of the senses and yet increasingly marginalized for its association with pain and abuse causing it to be perceived as unwelcome and in some cases prohibited. This article is the first stage of a larger programme of research that aims to explore what it is to come to ‘know’ and to identify what is known through touch in dance. The intention is to critically engage with an empathetic transmission of information as an integral feature of dance performer training, education and well-being. The discussion necessarily highlights the ethical interconnections that exist in learning, from a mingling of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ experiences that inform our understandings of identity, authority, role and difference.

Keywords: aesthetics; arts education; dance; embodied knowledge; ethics; touch

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Leeds 2: University of Hull

Publication date: April 27, 2012

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  • This journal focuses on the relationship between dance and somatic practices, and the influence of this body of practice on the wider performing arts. The journal will be aimed at scholars and artists, providing a space for practitioners and theorists to debate the work, to consider the impact and influence of the work on performance, the interventions that somatic practices can have on other disciplines and the implications for research and teaching.
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