The Feeling of Seeing: Factical Life in Salsa Dance


  • Rebecca Lloyd





Salsa dancing, a partnered dance premised on the felt sense of connection, is well suited to an exploration of Henry’s radical phenomenology of immanence and Heidegger’s facticity of life. Birthed in social celebratory contexts, salsa carries a particular motile freedom. What matters most is not how the dance movements are created from an outer frame of reference, but the experience of interactive responsiveness that emerges from unanticipated acts of giving life to another. Connecting to one’s partner and exuding a presence filled with life is revealed in an indepth interview with two-time world champion salsa dancer, judge, choreographer and coach, Anya Katsevman. This interview attempts to invoke the kinetic, kinesthetic and affective registers of the lividness and livingness of salsa dancing. As a phenomenological inquiry into factical life, the inter-view is presented not so much as a matter of shared perspectives or viewpoints, but more in the way of an inter-feeling, a practice of life engagement. This affectively-oriented approach provides both promise and challenge to the field of phenomenology. It invites us to delve more deeply into feeling acts of seeing. It also helps us understand how, through attending more fully to acts of seeing, we can increase the intensity with which we feel the upsurge of life.