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In spite of growing interest in the anthropology of the senses, the majority of literature has focused on the Euro-American 'classic five' senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch at the expense of other equally viable senses such as heat, pain, and kinaesthesia. Through ethnographic description of a professional dance training programme in which I actively participated, I argue that developing a heightened sense of kinaesthesia (felt bodily movement) is a means of becoming socialized into the professional dance community. Far from an isolated sense with discreet biological pathways, kinaesthesia requires parallelperception through multiple sensory modesincluding heat and touch. A focus on kinaesthesia therefore contributes to an understanding of the senses as a cohesive phenomenological complex that engenders an interconnected, bodily-grounded sense of cultural identity.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





444 - 465