Skilled performance in Contact Improvisation: the importance of interkinaesthetic sense of agency
Deans, C. & Pini, S. (2022). Skilled performance in Contact Improvisation: The importance of interkinaesthetic sense of agency. Synthese 200, 139. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-022-03629-7
In exploring skilled performance in Contact Improvisation (CI), we utilize an enactive ethnographic methodology combined with an interdisciplinary approach to examine the question of how skill develops in CI. We suggest this involves the development of subtleties of awareness of intra- and interkinaesthetic attunement, and a capacity for interkinaesthetic negative capability—an embodied interpersonal ‘not knowing yet’—including an ease with being off balance and waiting for the next shift or movement to arise, literally a ‘playing with’ balance, falling, nearly falling, momentum and gravity. We draw on insights from an interdisciplinary approach, including from a developmental perspective concerning the experience of dyadic interpersonal embodied skill development in both infancy and CI. Building on Ravn and Høffding’s (2021) definition of expertise in improvisation as an “oscillatory process of assuming and relinquishing agency” we propose that a key aspect of expertise in CI involves oscillation between levels and processes of interkinaesthetic sense of agency. These interdisciplinary insights also elucidate limitations within current conceptualisations of sense of agency, including the relationship between sense of agency and sense of control.