Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Proprioception and Aliaception in Tango

For some reason, I was thinking of these words today, racking my brain trying to remember them, and their meaning.

Proprioception (pronounced /ˌproʊpri.ɵˈsɛpʃən/ PRO-pree-o-SEP-shən), from Latin proprius, meaning "one's own" and perception) is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body. Unlike the six exteroceptive senses (sight, taste, smell, touch, hearing, and balance) by which we perceive the outside world, and interoceptive senses, by which we perceive the pain and movement of internal organs, proprioception is a third distinct sensory modality that provides feedback solely on the status of the body internally. It is the sense that indicates whether the body is moving with required effort, as well as where the various parts of the body are located in relation to each other.

The word proprioception can apparently be used interchangeably with kinesthesia.

Aliaception is a recently born protologism, thanks to Bryan de Valdivia over the pond in Bonn, Germany. He defines it as "The [sense or perception or] knowledge of another person's body (tension, [relaxation], positioning, and quality [and character] of movement [through time and space]) via one's sense of touch [or extremely close proximity]."

[the wording in brackets are my additions]

Anyway, I was able to remember them eventually, which is a good sign, especially after finishing the final coat on the deck and inhaling VOC's for eight hours. No tellin' how many brain cells I killed with that swift move. These are big and important words in tango. We should all know them and use them and bandy them about and try to make our bodies and brains actually do the shit that these big important tango words mean. Scientific shit that goes on when we are dancing tango and we don't even know it - we aren't even aware of it - a "rock of eye" or "Blink (the book)" sorta thing. Kindasorta. Same thing only different. Whatever.

Basically I just wanted to stick these words in the blog so I don't forget again and have to search around for them in the future.

My apologies if I got you all fluffed up over something profound, and then it turned out to be something to file under "stupid stuff".


joe grohens said...

Cool post, Alex .... I think proprioception is a fascinating system of reality awareness. One of the realizations a person tends to have in movement learning (e.g., tango) is that our proprioceptive feedback about what our own body is doing is not very reliable at first. But we improve it with time and training. That's one reason I don't really care for the fad where woman tango dancers close their eyes as a compulsory sign that they are getting into it or whatever it's about. In my experience, without the additional exteroceptive visual input, they can become more wobbly and miss things, but without really realizing it.

Xenia said...

Hi Joe, while I agree that it's more difficult to balance with eyes closed, I also think there is a good reason to dance that way: removing all the visual distractions present at a milonga heightens our other senses, including our aliaception. I'm less likely to anticipate or miss something (if properly led) when my eyes are closed.

Alex said...

I'm with you Xenia, I find dancers who close their eyes are actually more responsive to my lead. The eyes-wide-open dancers tend to be distracted by all the other dancers, making eye contact with other dancers, friends, even to the point of working their cabeceo whilst dancing with me.

Eye closers tend to get more invites from me.

Thanks for the comments!

devaldivia said...

Hiya Alex, I came across the article below, was looking for my old post, and came upon your site. Check it out!