Endless dance to the universal rhythm
Sudeshna Swayamprabha Tathoi
Arts allow for a semblance of normalcy, an escape from the otherwise cruel realities and crises of the present world. One would find solace in the embrace of arts, diverting the mind to provide a means of reflection, to find beauty in life, to enable self-expression. Dance is one of those art forms that helps to soothe the troubled soul and envelopes us to momentarily get lost in the rhythm and motion of the universe.
Dance has been from the ancient times the most instinctive form of art. Humans unconsciously learn to dance even before they learn any other social skills; so ingrained is dance within us. While everyone possesses this basic language of communication through the body without even knowing, there are those who dedicate their lives to practice and elevate this language to an aesthetic level to make it art. Dancers work hard to improve their skills, stretch themselves to limits, and connect to their inner selves to create dance pieces.
The power of dance was witnessed as the world stood still during the pandemic. As people were cooped up, dance provided a way to release pent-up energy within the confines of their homes. Technology and social media blessed us with visuals of dance from all around the world, where dancers and non-dancers equally shared their innermost expressions through a common shared language of the body. All coming together to create a rhythm that was felt by all who viewed; an artistic and creative form of body movement that brought its audience around the world to connect as a community during a period of grave uncertainty and tragedy.
29 April marks “International Dance Day”, initiated in 1982 by the Dance Committee of ITI (International Theatre Institute) celebrating the birth anniversary of Jean-George Noverre, (1727-1810 the creator of modern ballet). The day is celebrated with high spirits in the dance community to make people aware of the value and importance of the dance. The dance community present and promote their work on a broad scale, so that people in places of authority are aware of the value of the art form to support it.
However, should we limit dance to just aesthetic performances that is to be appreciated and enjoyed by its audience? Being the art that derives it tools and inspiration from nature itself, I believe we should do more to give back to nature and life itself through dance. In a tumultuous world, the possibilities are numerous, from using dance to address social issues, raise awareness for social injustices, to use it for its healing capabilities for both physical and mental concerns. The embodied experience of dance, that has it roots in the nature can help to create empathy towards other humans and be inclusive of all regardless of gender, race, class, or physical capabilities. Even though inaudible, the language of dance is capable of speaking loudly to convey messages that need to be heard. Dance has the capability to help us connect ourselves to the rhythm of the cosmos, to actually go back to the bosom of nature where it all began, to help protect the world and make it a place for all to tap their feet to the eternal beat harmoniously.
Just as the author of this year’s International Dance Day Message, YANG Liping, a famous dancer and choreographer from China very clearly highlights in her note: “…As human beings, we should respect nature, learn from nature, and harmonize with nature, just like the earth, the mountains, and the sky.
Dancers and choreographers need to listen more attentively to the joys and sorrows of the world, using dance to complete the dialogue we have had with nature, and life which has lasted for thousands of years.
Today, I will not only continue to share our dance culture with the world, but I also hope to invite all the dancers in the world who love dance and who would like to express their emotions through dance, to jointly dance for conveying our love and praise to heaven and earth.
Life never ends, and dance never stops.”
The author is a renowned dancer and choreographer.
– Article originally appeared on The Daily Star