Something so impossible to separate out of music’s connection to humans is dance. The natural kinetic abundance that suddenly passes through us when we hear a song or rhythm that hits us right in our moneymakers. One of my favorite things to see is the smallest of children sometimes hardly able to walk unable to resist moving their body when a good beat is bumping in the background. While completely adorable, it’s also a testament to our truest nature – we were born to dance.
We learn about our bodies through dance. What the brain does not nor cannot know, only the body truly experiences and knows through dance. It is a universal expression of what prisms through the soul and defines each of us uniquely unto our own movements. We cannot fully know ourselves until we completely let go and let rhythms radiate through us naturally. It is in these raw, unfiltered times where we give into the expression of our bona fide nature. And this is why young children cannot help themselves, they must move and find what it is that lives deep inside of them.
When we dance, we lose language, we lose judgement, we lose the impulse to create differences between one’s self and other. It becomes an entanglement with space, an epic journey to the heavens and back. We’ve all seen someone who has blown us away with their dance moves. Whether it was Michael Jackson or that random crew in Washington Square Park poppin and lockin. When people genuinely get down and show us new movements, shapes we didn’t think possible, it leaves us in awe. It is the raw art of the body.
I recall being in second grade when Michael Jackson’s Thriller hit the streets and the videos for “Beat It” and “Thriller” were released. I wanted to dance like him so badly. I’d throw it on in, do an earnest MJ impersonation and moonwalk as best I could across the carpeted living room. It was probably clumsy and really, I couldn’t moonwalk very well, even on smooth floors, but I didn’t care – I felt the love of it coming through me and that was all I needed. In middle school I had an incredibly embarrassing moment that sunk my desire to dance for about 5 years. Then in college, a wonderful friend of mine encouraged me to once more let go and not care about what was right or wrong, just dance it out.
For the last 16 years, I have made sure to have a place to dance at least once a week every week and now I wouldn’t exchange it for all the fortunes in the world. It is another form of spiritual practice for me. A place out of time to exist in ways that can only happen when dancing. It has shown me so much and always will. In some cases, I only know people through dance. I see them every week, don’t know their names, yet we don’t care.. because we dance. So the next time you’ve got an itch, and nothing else can scratch it – try dancing – it just might be that thing you needed this whole time.
Young Children Doing What They Do Best