Saul Albert

Rhythmical coordination of performers and audience in partner dance. Delineating improvised and choreographed interaction

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This paper explores rhythm in social interaction by analysing how partner dancers and audience members move together during a performance. The analysis draws an empirical distinction between choreographed and improvised movements by tracking the ways participants deal with variations in the projectability and contingencies of upcoming movements. A detailed specification of temporal patterns and relationships between rhythms shows how different rhythms are used as interactional resources. Systematic disruptions to their rhythmical clapping show how audience members work with dancers to sustain the accountability and relevance of mutual coordination; this reveals how dancers initiate, sustain and complete distinct phases of spontaneous movement as embodied social action.


  • Interaction
  • Dance
  • Ethnomethodology
  • Rhythm


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