What Is Dance You Ask…?


“Dance is the intent to do so whether gross movement is happening or not, or if the movement could also be interpreted as something else. Similar to a baby trying to formulate words; he or she is speaking and aiming to communicate even if the message is not vastly perceived as transcribe able language. Dance is not only the movement itself or the codified language such as Ballet Terminology, but the intent (once again) behind the movement or lack thereof. If I mumbled and yelled what I intend to be nonsense and I say a word or phrase in foreign language, did I speak that language? I say no, because I did not intend to say that word or phrase. And if I did and mispronounced I say yes because I intended to communicate in that language. But, there are many different dialects of dance! Performative dance, community dance, dance therapy, and so on and so forth that all exist like different dialects.

There are also three different intentions of dance that can overlap:

1. Dance Intention from the Performer

2. Dance Intention from the Presenter

3. Dance Intention from the Perceiver

Is what we see from the world in terms of movement considered dance if it is performed as so? Is the tree dancing when it says in the wind, or is the man dancing when doing the same? Could the video of the same tree, when set to music perhaps, be considered a dance video? Or maybe it was the man? And could we perceive these things as dance when we view them because it speaks to a dialect of dance that we know?”

So today was the first day of classes at ASU and the first day of me being a Senior,  and my first class today was a class called Meaning in Motion taught by Dr. Naomi Jackson.The course will  pretty much look at dance critiquing and the criticism of dance (I think those are the same thing… oops). And the cool part about today, or what I think is cool, is that we opened up a discussion about what dance is by looking at 4 different videos and deciding for ourselves which was dance and which wasn’t, and then why. So we shared of course, but my brain went into a huge mode of connections and I sort of defined dance for myself while in class and that first statement is what I used to define dance in my head based on the prompt.

For now, that definition works really well for me and helps categorize things in my head but I am sure it will expand, grow, and transform with experience. So, if anyone every asks you what dance is, you could just repeat this overly long paragraph to them =)


One thought on “What Is Dance You Ask…?

  1. Love your thinking! How about considering as well the intention as established by a particular culture or subculture? This is grasped in the definition of one of the founders of dance anthropology in the US. The dance anthropologist Joann Kealiinohomoku, at one point offered the following definition:

    “Dance is a transient mode of expression, performed in a given form and style by the human body moving in space. Dance occurs through purposefully selected and controlled rhythmic movements; the resulting phenomenon is recognized as dance both by the performer and the observing members of a given group.” [the last part is what is so relevant here]

    Also, the prominent dance scholar Susan Foster recognizes the unique way dance expresses how embodiment plays out in different contexts. She writes:

    “Dance provides a vision of what it is to be a body for those who watch it, and an experience of being a body for those who do it. Dance connects this corporeal identity to subjectivity and sociality, so that the dancing body achieves a locatedness in relation to self and others. Dance’s transcendent power stems, in part, from just this ability to synthesize physicality with individual, gendered, ethnic, and social identities. At the same time, dance places this experience of identity in motion so that the dancing body comprehends the transitoriness of each moment and its changing relation to the flux of the world.”

    Did you get all that:)

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/dance#ixzz2co4c76GX

    — Look forward to seeing how your views change during the year! Dr. Naomi

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