Learning to let go: Phenomenologically exploring the experience of a grip and release in salsa dance and everyday life | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2051-7068
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7076



Within the context of salsa dance, an exemplar that is highly attuned to gestural communication, there are moments when a perceptual merge, what Csikszentmihalyi posits as flow, is experienced. Movements are not anticipated, rather the fullness of the moment ripples out in fluid responsiveness to miniscule pressures and undulations in the simplest of gestures. Yet, achieving such a flow of reciprocity is not easy, as one must move not from a cognitive place of intention, but rather from a somatic sensibility premised on a corporeal openness. This enquiry thus explores what it is like to let go of habitual tensions that stand in the way of gestural communication within the context of salsa dance, and in so doing, the depth of connection to which attention is drawn represents the intertwining capabilities of relationships between bodies in any relational merge. And in delving into the nuances of gestural fluid responsiveness as guided by Daniel Stern’s notion of emotive motility living within the present moment, we may explore what it is like to form and feel a perceptual connection and the meaning that such moments hold, particularly for those who wish to heal and transform their daily relational existence.


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