” – Do you like to dance?
” – I like to see dance. Would like to do it as well, but never really got into it… I do a lot of steps in my mind…, but my body has never ventured into it.”
These lines were part of an insightful conversation I had recently. Two aspects struck me as extraordinary in the response – the openness towards dance, and the link between dance and thought. “Oh, how wonderful! How like the mind it is!” – this is what Helen Keller exclaimed when she experienced dance for the first time (see Dance Is Like Thought: Helen Keller Visits Martha Graham’s Studio). Her statement made me think about the role of dance in our lives. Dance not only as a simple movement of the body to music, but as an expression of emotions, stories, social interactions.
I was very shy as a child. Any type of appearance in the spotlight was a tremendous challenge for me. And so were the dance classes I took for a while. Even though I enjoyed dancing, the discomfort and embarrassment prevailed and I decided to give it up. Dancing was an infrequent companion after that, mostly when I was alone or ‘performed’ in my thoughts.
My personal rediscovery of dance came many years later when I was fascinated by dance fitness classes. It’s this fascination that let me find my way back to dancing and made me even go one step further. Now I am a dance fitness instructor and I feel very fortunate to be able to help people discover the beauty of dance as a form of exercise and expression. It’s truly enchanting to accompany this process. The uncertainty and discomfort at the beginning, followed by curiosity, astonishment, pure joy in the freedom of dancing… and thought.
If you haven’t ventured into dance yet, dare to do that. If not with your body, then in your mind. You might be able to discover much more about yourself and the world around you.
“While I dance I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole. That is why I dance”
Hans Bos, Contemporary admirer of dance with no formal training from Terre Haute, Indiana