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Dancing Alone: Source of Creativity & Healing

Posted Nov 13 2008 12:00am

Creative Commons License photo credit: AMANITO

“If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Most people think that the best dancing is showcased on famous stages before well-dressed crowds. After all, what can be better than a piece that has been honed and practice over time?

Before I answer that, allow me to paint a picture for you:

An instructor has just taught her last class for the evening and now she stands alone in the dance studio. It’s just her, a dance floor, a mirror, and a stereo. Maybe she has been experiencing some tough times in her life recently. Or maybe she has something to celebrate. Either way she puts on some music and begins to dance..

This isn’t being performed for an audience. She’s doing this for herself, from her spirit. This is a spiritual experience. No one is watching. It’s just her and the art form that she loves so much. Every movement is an expression of her fears, her joys, and maybe even her pain.

She dances with abandon. Why?

Because she needs to.

Dance is her healing. Her therapy. Her prayer.

Will you ever see what she does showcased on Broadway stages? Probably not! The purity of the dance comes from the fact that it is danced in truth…not to impress…and not to practice. While the best choreographers are able to approach this feeling, they can never fully capture it. That’s probably what drives them to work so hard.

Imagining what Alvin Ailey, Gregory Hines, or Katherine Dunham must have done in empty dance spaces inspires me. Fortunately, we each have the opportunity to dance in that same spirit. All you have to do is close the door of the studio and you have entered the temple.

Put on your shoes for the place where you dance is Holy ground!

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