The art of dancing; its nature, its transformation, its defilement.
Dance; the act of moving the body in harmony with the rhythm of the music in order to communicate one’s ideas, experiences or feelings.
Havelock Ellis, an English essayist and a physician says “The art of dancing stands at the source of all the arts that express themselves first in the human person”.
The reason why dance has such a great influence is because it is an art that everyone possess; An art that can only be understood and spoken by the body; An art that symbolizes both physical and spiritual life. And because of all this, it also makes it a great tool to unite a community.
Dance itself originated from its origin – meaning there are no actual records for when it began. But different kinds of dances came at different times. People danced since the beginning of times – as a celebration or as a ritual. Both ways of dancing represented a great part of a nation’s culture and story.
The art of dancing is meant to tell a story – a beautiful representation of what we are, the feelings we want to display, or our culture and its history – using our bodies. Capoeira in this case is a great example. Capoeira is mostly known as a martial art but this martial art was redefined as a dance. Because the African slaves did not want their masters to notice their training in martial arts, they decided to turn it into a dance to false them. In other words, Capoeira is a perfect symbol of creativity.
Sadly, this art which is dancing lost its sense and significance throughout the years.
Now when someone says “dancing» the thought that comes up is of two young teenagers (one female and one male) jiggling on the dance floor.
The reason why dance lost its valor as an art is because it has been violated by rebellion and all sorts of sexual themes.
The 20th and 21st century gave birth to amazing dancers such as the twins, Michael Jackson and Aria Alekzander but it also welcomed the flourishing of a dance that did not allow us to tell a story but one that revealed our demanding physical desires – mostly in an explicit way. The ladies threw their dresses, the men their suits and both decided to violate the proper meaning of dance. This is how grinding and pole dance came into existence. One’s physical desires became so strong that he had to satisfy them. And since dance is a body language, it suited this perfectly.
Also, nowadays people have a completely different mindset about dancing. When a particular dance is danced out of its cultural context, obviously it will be inappropriate for some people. When I say out of its cultural context I mean that it has been modified, changed and abused. But could a dance be inappropriate if there is nothing inappropriate in the dance? Thus it is inappropriate because we make it to be inappropriate. It only has to do with our mindset. Dance also became just like fashion. It has its seasons. As fashion changes so does dance. One specific kind of dance could be the trend for a year then it is gone.
In any ways, because of these, the true meaning of dance as an art has been compromised.
Nonetheless dance stays sacred. Going back to Havelock Ellis, he says “there is no primary art outside the art of dance and building, for their origin is far earlier than man himself; and dancing came first.”
Dance could be defined in many ways. Some definitions will obviously be different than mine, but my point of view will remain unchanged. My call is that each one of us, for the sake of art, could value dance as it truly is– A most creative way of uniting a community by sharing one’s culture, feelings or history through body motion.