Gesture as a device for converging of sensory and semiotic modes and levels. The case of Argentinian tango

Valeria De Luca

Punctum, 3(1): 57-75, 2017
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2017.0006


In recent decades, semiotics has shown an increasing interest in the passion and body dimensions of meaning. In particular, the growing emphasis on the role of bodily presence in semiotics has extended semiotic reflection to issues like embodiment, intersubjectivity, interactions and practices. In this context, a certain absence is noticeable regarding a field of reflection that is crucial for testing semiotic theoretical and methodological tools. This field concerns dance, that has been approached only marginally because of the challenges encountered in its analysis. Our contribution aims, first of all, at showing how the notion of gesture allows us to understand the passage from a sense of movement to the constitution of a cultural identity and imaginary based on bodily interaction and on the divers forms it assumes. We will will focus our attention on Argentinian tango and the principles of tango movement, in an attempt to grasp the features of tango bodily interaction. Subsequently, this will allow us to highlight the close link between a strictly bodily level of semiosis and that concerning the social practice of dancing.

KEYWORDS: Argentinian tango, dance, gesture, body interaction, empathy, intersubjectivity
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