Seeing movement: Dancing bodies and the sensuality of place

Paul Atkinson, Dr Michelle Duffy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper investigates how the study of dance and the visibility of the moving body can be used to rethink the conceptualisation of place. Examining the dancing body reveals an unspoken corporeal knowledge that subsists in our engagement with the everyday world, and exceeds our ways of talking or writing about dance as an art form. The body inscribes the space it moves across, leaving trajectories and choreographic lines and, due to its tangibility, also comes to corporeally fill or occupy a place. It is about understanding the movement of bodies in terms of the physical expression of the performer but also from the perspective of an audience, which serves as a third person perspective on corporeal expression. When watching a body move, the observer becomes attentive to the gestures, rhythm, intentionality, and the crowd of virtual movements that accompany it. Through the work of dance theorists such as Rudolf Laban, we examine how the dancing body oscillates between the intentional and the observed in the constitution of the sensual dimensions of space. Most importantly we explore how dance shifts the point of focus away from place as a locale to place as a site of corporeal witnessing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)20-26
    Number of pages7
    JournalEmotion, Space and Society
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Affect
    • Dance
    • Embodiment
    • Kinesphere
    • Laban
    • Movement
    • Place-making
    • Vision

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