We took some time out in modern class today to discuss a simple but important question for everyone. Why do we dance? What keeps us coming back everyday. I wrote down a lot of things and was really intrigued by everyone else’s answers.
So what is it all about for me? From a health standpoint, I need dance to survive. The physical strain from dance that wears on my body from a day-to-day basis is only relieved by the very same movement the next day. Its weird to think about, I know. Here’s a prime example. Dancing is killer on my feet because I don’t have great arches, so as dance strengthens and reshapes my feet I get ridiculously sore. The soreness is usually so bad that I can’t walk correctly the next day until I go through the proper dance excercises. For my mental well-being, I have a big ego that needs constant attention. Plus I love the system of replacing challenging goals after hard fought accomplishments.
Another reason I dance is out of pure response to music. Whenever I hear the right beat, it alters my mood, engages my creativity and sets my body ready for action. Many times, the music tells my body exactly where to go. That is an unmatched feeling that I haven’t been able to substitute with anything else. Choreography is a another part of this in that they are recorded responses to how I interpret the story of music. Many times, I see the dance happening in my head like a movie and I feel feverishly compelled to bring my vision to fruition.
The last reason I dance is a direct response to popular culture. Recently, I’ve been trying to make a change with the things I know about dance. My goal is to become a well educated member of the dance community so I can properly defend its ideals. Especially with hip hop, I find a lot of my inspiration to better myself in the ignorance of others who take advantage of my genre. Not only does that include knowing my stuff, it also includes knowing everyone else’s stuff so I can properly draw parallels and make distinctions. Nothing irritates me more than people that try to pass off hip hop that is not there. They think that because education on the subject matter is limited, that they can get away with teaching sub-par material. I am motivated to move to be that beacon of light that will illuminate other minds with what is and what is not considered hip hop.
I really tried to stay away from some of the more popular cliches about dance like “I dance because it expresses things my words can’t” or “I need dance to live” and really tried to focus on what I do with the art form. It was nice to see that many of my classmates really had some intense reasons on why they dance. It put a lot of different things in perspective for us, in particular, the student teacher relationship. I thought about how its a very dialectic relationship where both the teacher and the student are answering questions for each other. This is because dance is more than just a collection of absolute teachings, it becomes a lifestyle that conforms to each individual as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and performer. No two people will experience it the same. Which brings me back to the main question. Why do you dance? I know what dance does for me. What does dance do for you? I want to know because its part of my experience to know yours. And with everyone’s story being different, there is a different lesson to learn with each story.