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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses cognitive, sensorimotor, and interactional prerequisites for improvising together in tango argentino. Tango is a highly structured and precise skill where the demands of interaction and expressiveness converge: improvisational choice, the leader’s selection from a knowledge base, is concurrently constrained by the interplay of sensorimotor and coordinative skills. Tango creativity is primarily combinatory; it creates serial structures within a matrix of decision points and traversable linkages. For breaking down what it takes to improvise together, three resources may be discussed. Two among these designate basic skills that are unspecific to improvisation (and thus equally needed when dancing tango choreographies), whereas the third kind of resource supplies improvisation- and creativity specific cognitive bases: (1) Individually, dancers ensure postural and configurational well-formedness, dynamic stability, action-readiness, and receptivity. (2) Interpersonally, dancers ensure minutely coordinated coactions through their general rapport skills, feedback-awareness, task-specific microcoordination, and dynamic adjustment. (3) Tango leaders have complex cognitive repertoires, which allow the generation of an improvised dance trajectory (i.e., action chaining, rerouting on the fly, etc.). These role-specific cognitive bases prefigure different creative modalities: adapting and switching between miniscripts, basic unit chaining, ‘surfing’ nodes of an internalized matrix, and combining dynamic primitives or semi-abstract principles.

Keywords: interaction research, joint creativity, microgenetic analysis of skills, taxonomy of skills, cognitive ethnography

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