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Touch, containment and consolation in This is For You

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This article brings together somatic, geographic and psychoanalytic discourse in order to explore the consoling effect of touch within a site-specific performance, made by the author called This is For You.1 The particular quality of the touch in this work is identified, with reference to somatic practices such as Alexander technique and Contact Improvisation, as touching with empty hands. Drawing on Amanda Bingley’s assertion that touch experienced in one moment can connect us to foundational experiences of touch in another, this particular quality of touch is explored in terms of its resonance with the psychoanalytic concept of maternal containment. The article explores the role that the ability of touch to contain (what is touched) plays in its capacity to assuage feelings of loss prompted by the transience of the city in which the work took place. It concludes by pointing to the potential importance of the ability of touch to both hold and accentuate the indeterminacies of the body in its capacity to console.
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Keywords: Alexander Technique; Winnicott; contingency; psychoanalytic containment; site-specific; touch

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Manchester Metropolitan University

Publication date: 01 September 2017

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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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