ABSTRACT

What can examining touch in Western theatre dance tell us about its culturally coded and regulated nature? How can analysing choreographic touch become a medium for critiquing intercultural communication in the Western contemporary dance industry? Why should dance scholars, choreographers and critics pay attention to the gap that exists between the culturally regulated nature of touch in society, and its prolific use in Western theatre dance? The interview I offer here with Akram Khan, the critically renowned British-Bangladeshi dancer-choreographer, aims to examine this very gap in order to expose the psycho-physical negotiations that British South Asian dancers have to undertake when working within the contemporary British dance industry and its ubiquitous touch-driven partnering aesthetic, thereby foregoing their own complex and culturally specific relationship to touch and touching.