In celebration of National Dance Day—-
Every time before a recital or competition, I remember just before walking onstage I would peak out into the audience and scan the crowd that sits in darkness. My heart would be racing fast and all I could do was go over the movements in my head over and over again, get on the floor and stretch my body even further, or check my costume to make sure I had everything and it all was in place. Then came time to run out into position, you stand in your pose…frozen…and can hear your heart beating, feeling like it may explode from inside your chest. There is no turning back now. You take a breath, inhale deeply, and exhale slowly. Before you know it, the music starts, you face the audience and all the lights are shining on you as you look out into a sky of black where if you look closely you can make out the outline of the faces watching you. There is no turning back and now is the moment to shine. All that you have been working for is in this moment, all the countless hours of frustration, tears, pain, and then joy once achieved came down to this right here. Now on the floor is not you doing the steps, but your heart showing the emotion behind the movement. You are living the song and show power behind each and every move your body makes. You feel free, unstoppable, and like the world is watching you in your moment. The minutes seem like seconds and before you know it, the music stops… your heart beat comes back stronger then ever as you gasp to catch your breath and you walk off stage, still conscious of your movement leaving the spot you came from. You pass the curtain, and let out a big sigh. It is over, and you feel great about what you had just done. This is what motivates you to push yourself to the farthest limits and stretch your imagination to achieve the impossible. Everyone has something that drives him or her to the unstoppable in life.
Dance…I love to dance! Dancing is something that everyone can do and is taught to children at a very young age. The Hokey Pokey?! That’s a dance. 🙂 Dance is way to let loose, but also a way to become stronger and push your body to its fullest potential through hard work and discipline. So if so much goes into dance–how can it be defined? What is dance?
I bet if you asked people they would have trouble defining it with words, but they could show you what dance is or would know it if they saw it. I believe that dance cannot be described in words, after all dance does not use words. It is often paired with music, which yes, may have words but often times it can stand alone.
So here is what I came up with in the last ten minutes of what dance is in words. Ready!?! Dance is a form of body language; a movement of emotion that tells a story. Rhythm is the heart beat to the dance.
Today is a day to celebrate dance and why I am so thankful for it. Dance is responsible for my poise and confidence as a young woman. I have always loved the arts and with dance I have gained a greater appreciation for music and movement, and awareness of the way I move. I love that dance is a language that speaks in body movements. We dance for “the search for an awareness of what is means to be alive, to create, and to begin to understand humankind and our place in the universe.” I dance to release the person inside of myself: the selfless, the compassionate, the imaginative…the escapist, the weak-willed, the perfectionist. It requires the whole body as an outward expression of my inward emotions.
When I could not fit dance into my schedule the first semester away at college, I felt trapped, like a bird in a cage. It was not until second semester that I realized dance WAS what I was missing. Being back in the studio and in class on a regular basis felt liberating. I knew I was bird who was finally freed and able to fly again..something I was born to do. It is still an important part of my life and I am so grateful to be able to incorporate it into my studies as a minor.
I have great respect for dancers and their careers. It truly takes sacrifice and a love that you could not see yourself doing anything else in life. You simply, “HAVE TO DANCE!”
Here is an excerpt from a piece I wrote last semester when reviewing a dance class–this is me putting the dancers’ actions that I see into words.
Ch, Ch, Ch, Ch, the tambourine holds the quick beat under the drumming of the accompanist in the studio. Ahhhh hooooo, the slow deep breath of the young 18 year old dancers oppose their quick feet as a group of 13 move across the black mylar floor. Like a herd they travel in a diagonal motion, their faces are filled with passion as they stare at the corner wall. Their bodies move with strength and elongated arms in each step as they get deeper into the their lunges. The front and side mirrors emit reflections back at the dancers as they take a side glance to quickly correct their alignment as the combination builds. The lights on the ceiling beat down on each dancer and a puddle like shadow is reflected off the mylar floor mimicking each ones alignment. The group of dancers rush to the side walls so the next group can come in as the music begins to soften it’s tone. Intensity is tasted as no one speaks, but remains focused on the task ahead. “Flex 5, 6, tondu 7, up 8,” shouts a voice from the back of the room. A woman wearing a dark grey three quarter length top with grey yoga pants and bare feet call the dancers to the center of the floor. Everyone circles around her as they try to catch their breath and gain composure.
What I love most about dance is that it is unique to each person; not everyone moves the exact same way. What is your story? How do you dance through life? Do you do it in times of joy and excitement with others all around, or alone when you feel under pressure and there is no other way to let the stress out?
Don’t forget to bust a move in honor of National Dance Day! 😉