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Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1757-1871
  • E-ISSN: 1757-188X



This article addresses the potential for an embodied ethics of touch in the context of cross-generational dance work, in particular through the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. Focusing on choreographic processes and performances involving parents and children I examine the relationships that are reoriented through the shifting mode of being that is dancing together. This is in part an auto-ethnographic enquiry as I reflect on my own experiences as a new mother dancing with my daughter in Baby Jam1 and relating to her in life. Proximity is used as a way to frame the auto-ethnographic lens and to discuss ethics as a way of relating. This article suggests an ambiguous definition of ‘contact’: conceiving of it as a mode of communication as well as a dance practice The article questions how contact might be defined without the use of touch, by including the potential of touch as well as its actualization. Using Manning’s 2009 notion of relational movement, I refer to the ‘about-to-be’ moment in contact and the ethical relationships that this engenders. This article references three case studies as examples: my own cross-generational duet project with an adult mother and daughter, my experiences as a new mother and the work of Giulio D’Anna and his recent piece choreographed with his father Parkin’son. It discusses the ontological implications of contact across generations as a way of being together, reaching towards an ethics of touch rather than fixing its meaning.


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