Dance as Movement

644 words | 3 page(s)

Understanding of dance as movement reveals a new layer of meaning in the phenomenon of dance. Dance has always been viewed in relation to its aesthetic nature, yet dance has more to itself than just an aesthetic activity (Drewe & Court 336). Dance as a way of human movement can foster an extremely rich understanding of human experience and can help people develop not only physically and artistically, but also socially (Dickinson & Travis 213). This is particularly true about creative dance.

Dance as a way of human communication through movement empowers people to effectively communicate in a non-verbal way. This is achieved through people’s getting fully in touch with their physical selves and keeping their bodies ‘alive and attentive’ (Dickinson & Travis 212). Activated receptors in the human body help us to receive, perceive, as well as act upon the internal and external environments more effectively. This is the result of increased faith and trust to the body and ability to engage in synchronous communication (Dickinson & Travis 212).

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Improvised or creative dance absorbs in itself many characteristics of such interpersonal encounters. As a discipline, creative dance is viewed as an activity that ‘brings about a higher quality of communication from self to self and from self to others.’ (Dickinson & Travis 212). The so-called Effort-Shape System in dance is based on understanding of dancing as a series of movements and shapes. From this perspective, dancing is viewed both as ‘a journey backwards’ and ‘a journey forward.’

As a journey backwards, dancing is viewed through the lens of r-introduction of many shapes that people have collected but not really practiced. These shapes may be used to form and discover new shapes to enrich the dancer’s repertoire. As a journey backwards, dance enables people to use the language of their bodies in order to communicate with others and know more about them (Dickinson & Travis 213).

As a journey forward, creative dance is viewed as a method of releasing the body energy so that multiple feelings and psychological states can be communicated non-verbally. It is a way to explore ourselves: i.e. find out what needs to be changed in ourselves. It is also a way to create a new, absolutely positive view of oneself. In addition, dance is viewed as a way to receive joy from life rooted in the chance to fulfill one’s movement potential to the fullest. Besides, it is only through our adequate understanding of ourselves that we can adequately understand and experience people around us (Dickinson & Travis 214).

Dickinson & Travis’s views on the role of creative dance and the potential of movement have been in accordance with the contemporary approach to creative dance as a valuable method of psychological and cognitive development. Specifically, in Singapore’s education system, which places great emphasis on development of creative thinking skills, creative dance is used to help children learn to proficiently use their bodily kinesthetic intelligence (Leong & Hunt 35). Other studies prove the therapeutic effects of creative dance and the psychological improvements. Students engaged in creative dance activities have admitted improvement in self-expression and have been found to undergo the following positive changes: they have grown more dynamic, proactive, open-minded, likely to resolve conflicts, more emotional and goal-oriented (Lee et al A-10).

In summary, creative dance has both aesthetic and therapeutic value. Not only does it help people to get aesthetic pleasure, but it also acts as a tool of their psychological, social, and physical development. It allows them to improve the perception of themselves and of those who are around.

  • Dickinson, Leissa & Travis, Fiona. ‘Movement as Dance.’ Theory into Practice 16.3 (1977): 211-214.
  • Drewe, Sheryle & Court, Deborah. ‘Creative dance: Enriching understanding.’ Canadian
    Journal of Education 22.3 (1997): 336. Print.
  • Lee, Jonghwa, Ko, Bomna, Park, Jae-Hyeon ‘Dance.’ Research Quarterly for Exercise and
    Sport 83. 1 (2012): A 10-A13. Print.
  • Keun, Leong & Hunt, Peggy. ‘Creative dance: Singapore children’s creative thinking and
    problem-solving responses.’ Research in Dance Education 7.1 (2006): 35-65. Print.

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