Skip navigation

Current Research


Sensitivity and Receptivity: the Art of Partnering through Contact



Partnering can be one of the most challenging aspects of dance, yet many dancers are not provided the forum to develop partnering skills until the opportunity presents itself in the rehearsal studio. When this happens, the dancer frantically tries to understand the basic elements essential to dance partnering. She fumbles through the process by trial and error, creating an inefficient, unsafe practice of a complex task. How can this be avoided? It begins with building foundational skills that will support dance partnering in any genre of dance. Two of these foundational skills are sensitivity and receptivity. The development of these skills build a foundation for partnering in dance of any genre that can (and should) be taught in all partnering technique classes of all levels of experience. Putting aesthetic and movement vocabulary aside, sensitivity and receptivity are essential to the stability, timing and kinesthetic awareness of both dancers in the partnering sequence. This presentation will suggest methods in which sensitivity and receptivity in the body are developed in contact improvisation and how to implement this approach into any partnering class—from ballet to tango. This research is based on interviews with highly experienced contact improvisation teachers, ethnographic research.