It’s 11pm on a Wednesday night and I hear the oh so familiar beat booming from the speakers of an I pod from the kitchen. I quickly move my feet out of my bedroom to see what I am missing. My eyes quickly land on my roommates with spoons in hand and bodies shaking to the upbeat sounds. Subconsciously I notice the poor technique of their silly dance moves. Pushing away the structured dance I was taught, I slide my way to the make shift dance floor and begin to jiggle without a care in the world. There are no teachers, no rules, no steps to follow, but just me dancing to the beat I choose. I am in a perfect realm. My experiences in the realm of dance teach me to believe that the organic expression of dance allows people to exercise their soul.
Dance has no boundaries, making it feasible for anyone and every one to express themselves in any way they please. The street scenes of San Francisco paint a perfect picture of dance without rules. On one side of town, you see a break-dancer spinning on his head on the top of broken down cardboard boxes. Their moves are explosive and experimental coming deep from within. Their creative movements reflect an inner personality so dynamic and powerful one can’t express it in words. On the other side of town, you see the Hippie dancers on Haight Street busting out their psychedelic moves while moving to the fluid beat of the Beatles playing in the background. These alien yet natural movements convey their ideology of going where the wind takes them. These dancers have no structure holding them back; dancing allows the seeds of their souls to project their way onto the stage. Dance embodies an infinite range of emotions from the wild energy of the break-dancer to the calm spirit of the groovy hippie.
Dance is a way to truly explain one’s individuality. It can be a way to forget about what is going on in the world, and to just let go. Modern dance combines the captivating energy from the break-dancer and the fluidity from the free-spirited hippie with a hint of structure. This room and allowance for expression, helps build the foundation for a group to move together as one while maintaining their individuality. My friend Leah, a creative, confident, and unique modern dancer states that she feels, “most alive and at peace” when she is dancing, and believes, “you can say everything without even opening your mouth.”
Although dancing without rules works for some, dancing with structure and technique is another form one may use to tell one’s own story. The strict tradition and technique of ballet is what captured my spirit. I may not be dancing in free form like the break-dancer and hippies, but I feel the same liberating and powerful feeling when I step on stage. For fifteen years I focused on my turnout, if my feet were fully pointed, whether I had good posture, and if my body was aligned correctly. My legs shook, my feet bled, my body ached, but I was who I wanted to be when I was dancing. When I dance I become a powerful yet graceful, imaginative dancer. The dance floor is my escape from everything when I am in the spotlight.
So whether I am tying my ribbons to my point shoes, or dancing in circles with a wooden spoon in hand, I know that I can dance anywhere anyway and know that is exactly how I want to feel and be; a dancer.
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