The Real Purpose of Dance

Martha Graham, creator of one of the most concise and artistically perfect dance techniques, said “Dance is communication, and so the great challenge is to speak clearly, beautifully, and with inevitability”.

Dance has been used as communication through all time on this planet.
Most cultures have some kind of community dance that covers all aspects of life, both practical, emotional, and spiritual.
Human bodies are essentially the same everywhere, and so possible movement made with the human body will be basically the same, from culture to culture, from dance technique to dance technique.
Nuances of style and purpose vary from tribe/community to tribe/community.

Generally, in most community or tribal dance there is a participating audience.
The whole community joins in and supports the activity in circles around, or group gathering behind or somewhere close to the soloists or small groups that are moving most actively, or the whole tribe/community does the same movement.

I would like to talk about individual dance or movement expression.

We are all unique and perfectly beautiful crystals of God’s self, expressed.
Individual dance can be a statement of our full perfection, or of our process in finding that purity which God created as us.
Mary Baker Eddy, in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 303),talks about the necessity of actively reflecting ourselves back to God in the totality of reality, the total divine creation.
That points to self expression as a divine mandate.

There are many exercise systems and dance techniques that can warm up and build up the body.
Each person can find their own way to warm up and build up their body, drawing from several sources, or just one, whatever feels comfortable and right at that time, everyone has the privilege of creating their own way.

I do want to add, though, that dance as entertainment, has introduced a connotation of circus or spectacle, of competition, which adds an element of pushing past limitations for the wrong reasons, or conforming unauthentically to someone else’s aesthetic, and can become self destructive.

The warming up and building up of the body is essential in activating and harmonizing thoughts, emotions, and movement. It is a centering and preparing time of meditation and inner concentration.

From there we can use established or stylized movements as our vocabulary, or we can reach into our own natural impulses to find movements of our own.

We can decide on movements created by us or others, to express a particular feeling or experience that we find essential to letting ourselves be known in our family/ community.
That is also the important process of codifying feelings and experiences for our own purpose of knowing ourselves, gathering ourselves, speaking to ourselves about what what we are, what we are learning, and what we want to create.

I want to emphasize the use of the word vocabulary here, to describe movement.

We can enjoy creating our own vocabulary for speaking through our bodies.
Our effective vocabulary can be simple or complex, and its effectiveness comes with our sincere integrated self expression.
That vocabulary can be adapted and added to, changed and improved upon, in our eternal activity of Life.

Sara Street 11/5/18