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Spring Symposium on UR and Community Engagement has ended
Tuesday, April 24 • 4:05pm - 4:25pm
Exploring Kinesthetic Intimacy In Asheville’s Blues-Fusion Dance Community

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As a form of social partner dancing, Blues-Fusion is a cultural experience that occurs through socially negotiated physical interpersonal interaction. Unlike other forms of social partner dancing, Blues-Fusion does not follow an established set of patterned steps. Instead it relies on nonverbal cues performed in a closer frame, which allows an intersubjective connection that highlights intersubjective connection. This ethnographic research explores how participants engage to create and maintain a space of interpersonal intimacy. One of the themes the researcher focused on was embodied knowledge, the idea that the body knows things without conscious thought, such as practiced movements. She applied qualitative movement analysis to her observations of the movements of couples engaged in the practice. She also collected data along the lines of Paul Stoller’s Sensuous Scholarship, using her own body as an access point to the data. Lastly, she critically engaged with verbal content, both in conversation and in media surrounding the event. The researcher relates Diedre Sklar’s concept of kinesthetic empathy into the creation of intimacy. Kinesthetic empathy is corporeally recognizing, translating, and feeling what another person is feeling and is a skill that can be developed. She observes that connections in kinesthetic empathy in the context of Blues-Fusion are formed through mostly unscripted nonverbal signals and create what the researcher describes as kinesthetic intimacy- the main focus of this sociological exploration. She also identifies consent and vulnerability as integral components of kinesthetic intimacy, expressed both explicitly and implicitly. In a world where both sexual misconduct and the stories of people speaking up about it are coming more and more into the public eye, discussions about intimacy are becoming increasingly important. She hopes that by engaging with this research, her audience will see a new avenue to navigating healthy connections.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 4:05pm - 4:25pm
236 Zageir Hall