Contemporary dance theory has a longstanding debt to key concepts that derive from contemporary European philosophy, and the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty is regularly cited in discussions of the relationship between body, a dancer and dancing. This philosophical debt is foundational to the conceptualisation of dance and dancing as body-based discourses in the scholarship of Ann Cooper Albright (2011), Sondra Horton Fraleigh (1996) and Susan Leigh Foster (1997) which shapes the field of dance studies. The result is an overriding emphasis on concepts such as ‘body and cultural identity’, ‘the lived body’, and ‘dancing bodies’. This thesis challenges assertions that characterise dancing as something that exists, such as a body for example. It argues that the constituent elements of dancing are prior to the conceptualisations of a dancer, in other words, that dancing is neither a dance, nor more accurately, is it a dancer. This insight is supported by an analysis of Martin Heidegger’s ontological difference, a philosophical concept fundamental to challenging the interconnection between being and the being of beings that underpins his wholesale critique of metaphysics. Heidegger’s philosophy is important in this thesis, because it was a key influence upon Merleau-Ponty whose impact upon dance scholarship is widely recognised. By returning to Heidegger’s early philosophy, this thesis contends, it is possible to grasp the legacy of Merleau-Ponty in fresh terms. At stake are taken-for-granted fundamental assumptions that grounds analysis in dance theory, specifically the conception of dancing as movements articulated by bodies, and more generally, of a dance as performing bodies. Such definitions anchor circular arguments that are blind to the fundamental relationship between dancing and a dancer. In order to reset the priorities of these discussions and highlight the significance of dancing to a dancer this thesis argues that we must revisit the key philosophical ideas that continue to shape contemporary dance scholarship. To this end it will excavate the Heideggerian principles foundational to Merleau-Ponty’s thought, elucidate those principles and identify how they shape Merleau-Ponty’s conceptualisation of movement. By developing a new phenomenology of dancing and thereby reconceptualising dancing, dancers, and body this thesis aims to reinvigorate discussions of dancing theory.