Dance is Essential: Musings about Why Physical Expression is Vital.

“Babies dance before they can speak.”

“I find it an escape.”

“I have No anxiety when dancing.”

These are a few of the essential reasons that our Teaching Artists, regardless of art form that they teach, find creative expression through dance, vital. In honor of National Dance Week, during our most recent cohort meetings we asked our teaching artist what they felt when they danced, and that most honest of revelations, what moves embarrass them the most. Even, in embarrassment they found areas to creatively express themselves.

For most people a sense of freedom overcomes them when dancing (“Something inside of me is released”). Inhibitions that they might carry in normal life are cast aside and they get in touch with their bodies and express their whole selves (“When I dance I feel my spirit”). For some it can be a communal experience of expressing their passions (“It is a reason to come together”) or a  reason to strut their stuff in an expressive theatrical show (“I need space to dance”).

No matter how you do it, or when you do it, expression through movement can’t help but bring the emotions and thoughts in your mind at the moment. And sometimes those actions can be a source of amusement. Dances that were once all the rage that have gone the way of the legwarmer or current dances that challenge older joints and muscle memory, we’ve all had our own embarrassing moments on the dance floor.

Sometimes our need to freely express might get in the way of our community experience (“I cannot partner dance”) or bring us back together (“when the air is right, my husband and I have been known to attempt the Patrick Swayze/Jennifer Grey lift from Dirty Dancing. We’re also available for parties and bar mitzvahs”). Sometimes those moments don’t strike us anywhere near the dance floor and are used as Ice Breakers (“In the middle of teaching I might just ‘Drop it like it’s hot and then bring it back real slow’”). Sometimes those moments are used as comic relief (“The Muppet” “The Soulja Boy” “The Tootsie Roll” “The Running Man”) to make us seem more human and accessible to our peers.

The conclusion that most of us came to was that dance is a universal language that we all use to communicate our true selves to the outside world. The opportunities and spaces that The Workshop provides through our Creative Movement and World Dance residencies insures another generation of people are able to feel free to express their thoughts and emotions through the most direct aspect of themselves. Here’s hoping that you take a few moments to bust a move and express yourself.

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