Two Types of Dance

April 23, 2014

From Ted:


Recently I've come up with a very simple, but fairly meaningful, distinction when I think about the question, "what kind of dance do you do?" or hear statements like "I'm (not) a dancer". "Dance" or "Dancer" can be distinguished at the highest level into two major categories based on whether it's for an audience or for yourself. For now, I'm calling these categories "performance" and "expression".


I feel like this distinction, if spread throughout society, could fundamentally change people's relationship to dance in a big way, opening up many more people to experiencing the joy and freedom of dancing. Performance dance is intended to be viewed by an audience, where success or "doing it right" is, like most art forms, about evoking emotions in the person viewing the dance. Those emotions can be anything from happiness to sadness, awe to comfort, excitement to depression. So, fundamentally, the dance has an objective and thus has a "right" and "wrong" way to do it.


The performance styles that have had many years of refinement, such as ballet, thus have well established metrics for what is a good vs bad dancer. And it's fair to say, I can or can't dance, *in that style*.


But dancing for yourself, what I'm calling "expression" dance, doesn't have a right and wrong. Expression dance is about connecting with your body's own internal energy and moving however you want to that expresses your reaction to music. It's individual - it's personal - it's all your own. It doesn't matter what it looks like to other people because *you're not dancing for them*.


So, anyone who can get past their own self-consciousness, quiet their inner critic and just move, is a "dancer". I truly believe anyone can do this and so, everyone is a dancer.


This is the core of what Dance Labs is about. We're not here to teach you "moves" or get you ready for ballroom dance competitions. We're here to change the paradigm of what dance is to people, so that all of you can discover and unleash your dance.


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