So let there be a dance.… Why? Many of us might have had some dance experiences around us while growing: maybe watching our grandparents or parents dance at home or at town fairs. Who hasn’t followed artists or singers performing and dancing and felt transported by some magic unpredictable flow in their dancing? Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, James Brown, Bob Marley, Blues Brothers, John Travolta, Michael Jackson, George Michael, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce. In our personal lives we might have danced with the same intentionality or sense of abandon or following the flow through changes or transitions and like nobody was watching. Life itself can be considered as a dance in its first steps, in the music and flow you follow, in the company you lead or follow with some sense of complicity, and in the messages you give more or less intentionally to your audience or people you have dancing with you and sometimes in the finale you choose to build a climax for…
How can we make of this process then an opportunity for growth and keep its flow seamless?
Some dancers consider their performances as a connection between their own body and soul. This belief has been shared in some cultures’ heritage and sometimes ruling classes or institutions have considered dance as a symbol of sin or savagery or corruption of moral customs and dominant cultures have tried to oppress it (i.e. colonialists, slave owners, etc) as if the sense of communality shared in dancing crowds could have the power to shake the foundations of body and soul. The feeling that you could dance for hours by yourself or in company and let yourself go in some sense of abandon is like loosening the roots that keep you on the dance floor and let your soul fly higher than your body can. How can our UUFA body and actions aspire to that higher spiritual level? If our dance together can be a shared language, then each of its steps is a word, an opportunity for connections, for deeper connections that can speak to our body, to our soul or to both.
In history, dances have been performed to celebrate crop harvests, births, weddings, or to commemorate the losses of loved ones. In some religious ceremonies and rituals of indigenous populations, communal dances are performed to invoke better weather, to plead for good outcomes of important endeavors or to fall in trance in an attempt to disconnect from our human roots and connect with a higher level of awareness. In some indigenous cultures dances have even curative functions. They are used in attempts to liberate our bodies from negative influences, for healing or to keep diseases away. In our dance studios the recent diffusion of hip hop dance has its roots in dancing to the beat of reggae music,a Caribbean genre, and its variation in the break dance style has brought dance performances in urban streets in the 70s and 80s. As different as all these dance movements can appear, they all have in common a strong connection with a community history, a belief on the importance of belonging to the same community, a sense of shared culture, an aspiration to communicate and sometimes to outreach to other individuals, communities or entities.
In dancing together we can create, build, follow and consolidate that sense of trust necessary to live, play and work together in deeper connections than we can believe sometimes. As Henry Ford said “ Coming together is a beginning: keeping together is progress; working together is success”
In respect of the dancing potential of our UUFA community,
UUFA Board of Trustees At-Large member