By Judith Hamera, Janelle Reinelt, Brian Singleton
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Additional resources for Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference and Connection in the Global City
Intimacy resides in the accretional, almost geological build-up of shared and specific knowledge of one’s physical capacities or limits: what side of the body is stronger; where the scar tissue is; what idiosyncratic abilities specific muscle groups have. ’ There are the stories encysted within these corporeal deficiencies and abilities. Every injury has a story and an attendant invitation to add to the interpersonal and intimate repertoire built up, over years, between instructors and students.
Metaphor insures ‘a relation of indirection’ (Irigaray, 1996: 109) in ‘I love to you’ and dance to you; it is reminder, a ‘sign of non-immediacy, of mediation’ (109) between self and body, body and body; like ‘to,’ it is ‘the site of non-reduction of person to object’ (Irigaray, 1996: 110). Metaphor organizes intimacy in dancing communities by inserting play into the strategic protocols of technique. But this is not unmitigated free play. Metaphor is also subject to the same disciplinary regimes as other social technologies of border intimacy.
Both groups routinely self-disclose in sessions; some socialize outside of class. Over years, this closeness has manifested itself in instructors fixing up clients on dates; treating elderly clients for free, even badgering them to come in if the instructors perceive the need; visiting clients in jail or the hospital; sharing meals; and countless other intimacies. Both groups share personal details about health, relationships, personal plans. The atmosphere, as one client observed, is ‘as much hanging out as working out,’ though instructors are routinely teased for enforcing discipline during class sessions.