Restructuring the self-sensing: Attention training in contact improvisation | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1757-1871
  • E-ISSN: 1757-188X



In this article, I discuss how contact improvisation (CI) can be seen as a form of attentional training – training attention-to-attention while moving – and how this practice can change the sense of self that dancers have. It proposes that identity in CI is an action of giving: one that generates new potentials through relations that support complex actions. Identity in an active practice of relations is associated not with bound physicality, but rather with active sensing. This active practice opens up the possibility of another politics of attention. I draw upon my experience as a teacher to make clear the relation between practices of attentional skill and theoretical claims about what attention can do. Working through the relational concepts of performance theorists and contact improvisers, this article offers new language with which to understand the political significance that CI brings into the twenty-first century as it continues to grow.


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