Over time, dance has become an important aspect of many ceremonies, celebrations and entertainment dating as far back as the prehistoric Bhimbetka rock shelters (30,000 year old) found in India, as well as some Egyptian tomb paintings depicting silhouettes dancing dated in 3300 BC.(1) The notion of movement has always surrounded humanity. Historians have been able to trace the impulse of dance to exist in the early primate era. Dance has surrounded us in many forms since the dawn of time, it is the imagination brought to life in the purest form of artistic expression. When asking any dancer how they feel when they dance, it is often met with claims of happiness, bliss, states of euphoria and so much more. I strongly believe that spirituality plays a big role in the creative and artistic expression of dance.
Growing up I had always been connected to dance; art and music runs through my veins and always has been ever since I can remember. Expressing myself has always been done through other forms of art and music, but one that has always held a special place in my heart is dance. As a dancer and performing artist, I’ve come to see that dance exudes this pure element of connecting to something beyond yourself and beyond words. Dance can transcend you to places that are higher than time, space and reality. You are allowed to express yourself when words fail to articulate how you feel. It almost becomes like this prayer or diary entry you’re sending to the universe. Your body becomes the pen and the music becomes the paper. For a moment you’ve escaped everything and you are just living and dancing.
With this in mind, dance provides a connection with others that is hard to explain in simpler terms. When watching a performance you can tell when a dancer is connected to the music and with the right song, moves and timing, the audience can feel the same thing the dancer is feeling. Even off stage when you are in class and learning a combination connecting with your dance partner or the class as a whole, music and dance provides this complete state of bliss when you are in the moment. This euphoric feeling of connecting to others that are beyond words heightens this spiritual connection with the movement.
I realize how some may not understand this narrative, especially those who may not have known dance the way many dancers experience it, but I encourage you to dig a little deeper inside of yourself, play a song that makes you feel serendipitous and allow it to move you. Only then will you understand the impact it has on so many. Dance becomes this ultimate form of therapy providing emotional support through some of the toughest times you may experience. So manifest in this new experience. Manifest in the impact that dance can and will have on you and how it makes you feel, only then will you feel the spiritual benefits it holds.
“We dance to fall in love with the spirit in all things, to wipe out memory or transform it into moves that nobody else can make because they didn’t live it.”
(1) Fredrick, Eva. Dancing Chimpanzees May Reveal How Humans Started to Boogie, (December 2019, AAAS) Accessed from: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/12/dancing-chimpanzees-may-reveal-how-humans-started-boogie