Gazing into the Abyss: Visual & Kinesthetic Attention, Communication, & Connection in Various Dance Positions - OR - Looking at My Dance Partner
…if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.
People often wonder how much it is appropriate to look at our dance partner. We may have concerns that it would come off as “creepy,” but want to build connection, demonstrate interest in what our partner is doing, or just want to get more information about what’s going on with our partner.
This article addresses these concerns, discussing each dance positions’ default gaze and suggestions for experimenting with gaze variations to build excitement and communication. We extend the concept of gaze to include attention, giving our body orientation greater relevance, and playing with the concept of a kinesthetic “gaze” that not only feels great but also gives us more information about what our partner is doing and asking for!
Following we’ll go through each of the basic dance positions in which we’re touching our partner, identifying our default gaze, and how we can extend that kinesthetically, and what variations we could try!
Dance Position (Embrace):
Close, Body-to-Body, or Zero-Arms-Length (0) Position.
Our default gaze will pass over our partner’s right shoulder, because our feet are offset with our
Our gazes look over our own arm in the direction we’re traveling. To look at our partner here can More Here
Closed, One-Arms’-Length (1) Position.
Closed is also an offset dance position with our right feet pointed in between our partners’ feet, making it comfortable to have a default gaze looking out “our window” over our partners’ shoulder.
Open, 2-Arms’-Length (2) Position.
These are general terms for the distance of the position. There are also the specific variations
Breakaway, or Apart Position.
Breakaway is the easiest position to experiment with gaze in. Its gaze can vary from soft overall More Here
In closing, the question of how much it is appropriate to look at our dance partner depends on our dance position, our own comfort, and our partner’s comfort. We now know each embraces’ default gaze; can include the attention of our body orientation or kinesthetic “gaze”; and can experiment with some interesting variations to build excitement, fun, and communication!
By Karen R. Smith