Sharing the dance – on the reciprocity of movement in the case of elite sports dancers

Abstract

In his recent works on daily face-to-face encounters, Zahavi claims that the phenomenon of sharing involves reciprocity. Following Zahavi’s line of thought, we wonder what exactly reciprocity amounts to and how the shared experience emerges from the dynamic process of interaction. By turning to the highly specialized field of elite sports dance, we aim at exploring the way in which reciprocity unfolds in intensive deliberate practices of movement. In our analysis, we specifically argue that the ongoing dynamics of two separate flows of movement constitute a shared experience of dancing together. In this sense, moving together, in sports dance, is a practical way of understanding each other. In agreement with Zahavi, our analysis emphasizes the bi-directed nature of sharing. However, at the same time, we contribute to Zahavi’s ongoing endeavour as the special case of sports dance reveals how reciprocity can be deliberately shaped through the mutual coordination and affective bound dynamics of movement. Our article thus both pursues the methodological point that qualitative research of expert competences can constructively enrich phenomenological analysis and indicates how movement can be fundamental to the reciprocity of shared experience.

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