I’ve been asked this question several times in the last few weeks. The folks at Jacob’s Pillow are asking the question, it was posed in a casual exchange last week, and at the forums on Dance Advantage Interactive… I get the feeling I’m meant to answer! I’ve had to truly think about it though. Frankly, when faced with the question directly I’ve come up sort of empty. I’ve been immersed in dance my entire life or at least from the time that memory begins to serve me. Has there been an option not to dance?
I can tell you that I have not and do not always love everything about Dance as a career, as a path of study, as a goal, as a means to an end, as an activity, as a process. But at a point early on, I discovered a deep passion for moving, discovering, and exploring, for communicating and connecting in this language, and for watching others do the same. That affection for The Dance has prompted my pursuit of and pushes me onward in Dance.
I’ve never felt I have a gift for dance (and I’m quite sure there are others that agree with me). Rather, I’ve been given a precious gift. Namely, the people in my life that have enabled me to experience both The Dance and Dance and also the capacity for participation in this art form. There have been many moments that dancing for myself (i.e. participating in The Dance) has taken a backseat to passing on the gift but, always my participation fuels the vehicle. I can’t drive on ’empty’ for very long.
But why, Nichelle? Why do you dance?
As cliché as it may sound (and I assure you this comes from a very real sentiment), you might just as well ask “Why do you breathe?” Dance is nearly as essential and involuntary. When I’m not dancing, I’m talking about dance. I’m watching dance. I’m sharing dance. I’m thinking about dance. My other interests all have a way of coming back around to dance… even this computer sitting at my fingertips.
(okay, here it is…)
Because, like the air I breathe, dance has been a life-giving, life-sustaining force. Each inhale has been a new experience – sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter – but always taken in and then sent forth into what I accomplish, what I create. I’m quite sure that only when I exhale my last will the dance in my mind and in my body cease. And even then my essence may will dance on.
So tell me, Why Do You Dance?
Share it in the comments below.
And why stop there? Be sure to let Jacob’s Pillow know why you dance. Enlighten the lovely members at DA Interactive, too. Shout it from the mountaintops, for that matter! We could use a few more people doing that because, you know what?, answering this question reminded me why I dance, something I know I need every once in a while to renew my purpose and motivation. Do you need that too?
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.