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By Judith Hamera (auth.)

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Extra info for Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference, and Connection in the Global City

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Both groups share personal details about health, relationships, personal plans. The atmosphere, as one client observed, is ‘as much hanging out as working out,’ though instructors are routinely teased for enforcing discipline during class sessions. Instructors are often theatrical in their teasing of clients, as much a performance to/for colleagues and other clients as relational currency between individuals. Friendships are not only ‘vertical,’ between clients and instructors, but ‘horizontal’ as well, linking the instructors and clients to one another.

Every injury has a story and an attendant invitation to add to the interpersonal and intimate repertoire built up, over years, between instructors and students. This interpersonal repertoire 32 Dancing Communities organized by technique is, I suggest, a kind of lovers’ discourse in Irigaray’s sense, a figural intimacy in Barthes’s sense. Consider figures as Barthes does: ‘the bod[ies’] gesture[s] caught in action Figures take shape insofar as we can recognize, in passing discourse, something that has been read, heard, felt [or embodied]’ (1978: 4), something like the tactical intimacy that insinuates itself into technique’s strategic ambitions.

The apparatuses have metaphoric resonances – the ‘Cadillac,’ for example, being the top of the line for sheer theatricality of the exercises performed on it. ’ Interpersonal dynamics of training itself are explicitly metaphoric as intimacies build up between clients and instructors. One woman called a former trainer at the studio her analyst; another called him her ‘past-life husband,’ a function, I guess, of their constant arguments. ’ These deployments of metaphor tactically domesticate technique while ostensibly communicating its imperatives; they are ways of seizing opportunities for interpersonal play rooted in shared history and shared embodiment.

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