When I Dance My Walk: A Phenomenological Analysis of Habitual Movement in Dance Practices


  • Carolina Bergonzoni The University of Minnesota, United States






In this article, I describe the experience of dancing-a-walk. My specific focus is on the shift that I perceive in my body when I dance-a-walk rather than functionally walking. Following a firstperson perspective, I demonstrate how my experience of practicing dancing-a-walk interrogates the habit of walking and makes it come alive again as an expression of the body. First, I show how the practice of dancing-a-walk challenges the dichotomy between abstract and concrete movement proposed by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in the Phenomenology of Perception. Indeed, dancing-a-walk is an example of a concrete and yet already abstract movement. Then, I turn to concepts such as habits and body memory. By identifying how the perception of my body changes when I dance everyday movements (i.e., walking) versus when I execute such movements functionally, I aim to develop a new perspective on and vocabulary for a phenomenological definition of concrete/abstract movements within the context of dance.