Dance is woven into the very fabric of every culture. Each and every culture has some form of dance attributed to it. Think of: Scottish, Irish, Xhosa, Zulu, Khoi, Afrikaans, British, Russian, Indian, Chinese, etc nations and you’ll find that one key identity is by their physical expression through movement.
A culture is found in specific colours, clothing, music, language, but a definitive character of a ‘people’ is also defined through their dancing. One would be hard pressed to find a culture that does not have a particular dance style or form of movement attributed to them.
For many generations both men & women as well as boys and girls have learned ‘their’ dance - the movement of their people.
Dance helps to define identity. It is a means of expression. It tells their stories & it stores their history.
Like any language, body language included, one needs to learn the foundations that constitute its make up. Once that is established, then it becomes a personal expression of self. Whichever emotion that is felt - whether it be love, hate, confusion, anger or even peace - an outlet can be found through music and dance. Movement mesmerises and invites. It is the one of the most personal expression of art and tapping into ones higher self.
Some people express through painting or singing or by playing a musical instrument; and others express through dance. When words fail, action speaks. Movement can be the voice that you never had: the outlet that you never really explored. You can shout or you can whisper. It’s endless and is hardly ever the same. It’s individual: No matter how hard you try, dance is one art form that changes constantly. No two dancers, no matter how hard they try or train, move alike. Just like snowflakes or fingerprints, each one is unique and considered an original.
We sometimes forget the ‘soft’ elements of dance. Many train so hard to get the technique ‘right’ (if that is even possible), that they forgo the essence of life that dance gives. It’s a way to release any pent up emotions or trauma, to tell a story, to express a feeling or idea and can help to process them - without having to define them.
Dance takes many years to ‘perfect’. It takes discipline, dedication and devotion to achieve a high standard. But, ultimately, it reveals your true nature.
“You do not truly know someone until you fight them.” The Matrix
You do not truly know someone until you dance with them. There’s a connection that happens when you move with someone that is totally unique. You connect through eye contact, through energy or even spiritually. You ‘tune in’ to the other person. There’s nothing quite like it. Whether as a couple, small or large group, there’s definitely an intangible exchange of energy that is felt in rehearsals, classes and especially during performances. Dancing and expressing oneself is one thing; but sharing that with others is another thing completely.
If you can connect with someone truthfully and then express the music through you movement...wow. You would have transcended yourself. You’ve made yourself be strong, yet vulnerable; safe, yet exposed; find yourself or become something else entirely. This is the true essence, beauty and joy of dance.
So don’t just get by with a few rudimentary greetings, requests - or profanities of this language. Learn to fully immerse yourself in YOUR movement. To your PERSONAL music of choice. This, is freedom. This is DANCE.