what about dance is even remotely “transformative”?

What about [dance] is even remotely “transformative”?

This is a real question by a real person, as a comment on TED website under this video: “The LXD: In the Internet age, dance evolves“.

Even though I have danced all my life and even got a (useless?) dance degree, this is a question I have been asking myself for years. Yes, it had a huge impact on me, but how about the world? There are full of problems out there, I didn’t know where dance stands. I was finding hints here and there – in the performances I watch and dance classes I attend – but very, very slowly.

Until I met the incredible Abramz of Breakdance Project Uganda (BPU) and watched Bouncing Cats (the documentary about BPU).

Here is what art is meant to be doing:

“Art might not be a practical solution, but it ignites practical solutions.” – K’naan

And dance (…please let me say this) is the most powerful of all art forms.

The tool of a dancer is the body and there is a reason we care about “body language” because the body expresses what the brain is thinking… things that our logical self cannot interpret, or things that are not detectable by our logical self. Dance is the rawest sense of human activity.

(What tools of other artists can be rawer than this? Visual artists need a brush, or their chosen medium to create; actors and theatre need words (and the rest is, you guessed it, body language); musicians can sing but very limited work is pure vocals; writers need words.)

Because of this rawness, dance touches all human souls without boundaries.

I was dying to fight back to the person who asked the question above, but I was being an idiot… because the answer is in the video itself. It was even said that LXD received the longest standing ovation in TED history. Who were giving the ovation? It was those whose work and job description is always accepted without question (scientists, visionaries, academics…), the creme de la creme who can/have change/d the world. Some were smiling, some were crying. What does that tell you?

What is the purpose of dance? Can it change the world? No, it will not change the world by providing practical solutions, but it will touch people’s heart and inspire them to do things that can change the world.

“Art is not a mean to solve the problems of the world but it changes minds. Mind changing is the first step to taking actions to solve problems. Then, art nurtures cultured minds, and culture, is a goal.” – Mallika Sarabhai on TED

PS: Google “the longest standing ovation in TED”. I am not sure which it was, but all were presentation by artists: LXD (dance), Miwa Matreyek (multimedia artist) and El Sistema (music).

One thought on “what about dance is even remotely “transformative”?

  1. I ask the same thing of myself all the time. I ask myself…why am I working so hard for such few moments of glory and even fewer moments of clarity and inspiration? But every time I watch a performance, I’m reminded of how powerful and transforming art is. Every time I dance and pause after, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to be able to move and create art with my body in the precious few moments I have. We’re so blessed to be artists and dancers because we know how truth, love, and compassion really feels like. Art is effective, transformative, and essential for our collective sanity. 

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