As some of you well know, I am a dancer. I haven't actually danced a choreographed dance in quite some time and since having kids my body doesn't move in quite the same way that it did when I was a teenager, but nonetheless I still consider myself a dancer. I feel music and I express myself through dance.
This last December I went to a performance of the ballet The Nutcracker and it was then that I realized that I don't really like ballet. This is significant because ballet was my first introduction to dance and I took ballet lessons for several years. So I started thinking about dance and what it is and what its purpose is. And now I just have a bunch of questions about dance and no real answers. Is there an ideal form of dance? Are some forms not as "true" as others? Does dance have to be visually appealing?
I thought it'd be interesting to search YouTube and see different styles of dance. I wanted to share my findings with you all. I realize it would be quite time consuming to watch all these videos in their entirety, but I do hope you'll watch enough of each to get a real feel for that dance.
First, right here is why I don't like ballet. Yawn. If I were to watch or dance ballet I'd much rather it be more like this. It looks much more fun and much less stoic.
Something that I have been enjoying lately is break dancing. My one qualm with it is that it tends to get very "show-offy" and the performer ceases to dance and just starts to display his skills. I think any type of dance can fall into this and it really, really, bugs me when it does.
Here is one example of this showing off mentality. I don't think this Chinese ballet counts as true dance, but if you skip to a little before the six minute mark you'll see a woman balancing on one leg- on pointe- on top of her partner's head. Wow. I have to ask why anyone would want to do that, but hey, it's still impressive.
My search for dance led me to a kind of dancing that I had never heard of until a few months ago. It's called house dance. When I first saw it, I totally didn't get it, but when I saw this video, it made much more sense to me. It is a freestyle sort of dance that seems like it would allow the dancer to feel the music and flow with it. When someone house dances well they are intimately involved with the music. This video show several different house dancers-each with their own particular style.
Just how would you describe this type of dance to someone? It's a Japanese tribal hip hop thingy, I guess. I don't know what to say about it except that I like it. I think.
Gaby introduced me to Parkour- The Art of Movement. (this video gets very good at around the 2:45mark.) These people are celebrating the joy and freedom of moving. They don't use music, but does that make a difference in dance? I think parkour is the closet thing I've ever seen to man learning to fly.
And now we come to Robam Joun Por. This dance is so foreign to me that I have trouble appreciating it. But if you look closely at the way the dancers move their heads ever so slightly, you see that they are dancing to a strange melody that is almost beneath the music we hear. It looks so stiff to us Americans, but in watching it a few times I was able to see how that, too, is a beautiful style of dance. Though that doesn't mean I like it.
So now you've seen a small, but very diverse collection of dances. It's amazing to me to watch them all back to back- my neck still hurts from the whiplash. God created our bodies in such an intricate way and has given us the ability to dance. In some way, all these dances show us something of the beauty of our God. I'm overwhelmed with the magnitude of this thing called dance. Just imagine, what would dance look like if it was done by perfect, sinless bodies? Someday we'll find out.
So now that I've rambled on and posted a plethora of links that I don't even know if anyone will watch, does anyone have any thoughts about dance?