Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 99–116 | Cite as

Sharing the dance – on the reciprocity of movement in the case of elite sports dancers

  • Jing HeEmail author
  • Susanne Ravn


In his recent works on daily face-to-face encounters, Zahavi claims that the phenomenon of sharing involves reciprocity. Following Zahavi’s line of thought, we wonder what exactly reciprocity amounts to and how the shared experience emerges from the dynamic process of interaction. By turning to the highly specialized field of elite sports dance, we aim at exploring the way in which reciprocity unfolds in intensive deliberate practices of movement. In our analysis, we specifically argue that the ongoing dynamics of two separate flows of movement constitute a shared experience of dancing together. In this sense, moving together, in sports dance, is a practical way of understanding each other. In agreement with Zahavi, our analysis emphasizes the bi-directed nature of sharing. However, at the same time, we contribute to Zahavi’s ongoing endeavour as the special case of sports dance reveals how reciprocity can be deliberately shaped through the mutual coordination and affective bound dynamics of movement. Our article thus both pursues the methodological point that qualitative research of expert competences can constructively enrich phenomenological analysis and indicates how movement can be fundamental to the reciprocity of shared experience.


Movement Affectivity Shared intentionality Coordination Connection Interdisciplinary methodology 



We wish to thank the sports dancers Bjørn Bitsch & Ashli Williamson and Martino Zanibellato & Michelle Abildtrup who kindly gave their time to participate in the study. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the anonymous reviewers for providing us with constructive comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Sports Science and Clinical BiomechanicsUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

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