Alius Chiloe Alius Edwin Austin Dance 459 March 18, 2013 Dance: My Philosophy

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In the world today there are many different views and philosophies about dance. Debates about whether or not dance is an art form or simply a means of entertainment or exercise, rage all around us. Although universally, most would agree that dance is, indeed, a wonderful form of keeping in shape, a fun recreational activity, and a great way to socialize with others, I believe that dance serves a deeper purpose. This belief has evolved and grown over time. In the beginning of my dance career at the young age of five, I did not recognize the deeper value or influence that dance played in my life or those around me. If someone had asked me then what my philosophy about dance was I very well might have responded with something along the lines of, “Dance is moving to music. It is fun and helps me make friends.” However, now at the age of 17 and presented with the same question, my answer is more profound and rooted in personal experiences, as well as influenced by different interactions with other dancers, my teachers, and professors. When I was younger, I danced because of the enjoyment it brought to me. As I matured, I danced not only for my own pleasure and enjoyment, but because I knew that when I performed it made those watching, such as my family, happy as well. I grew even older and gradually moved beyond the entertainment aspect of dance. I recognized different emotions that dance can evoke, and appreciate and love the feeling that dancing gives to me as well as the viewer. I have now come to believe that dance is in fact a form of art that communicates with others accessing

Alius deeper emotions that words alone cannot express. Dance connects people’s spirits on a very individual and emotional level. During the panel presentation by Chase and Katy, Chase said that when dance is viewed as an art form it gives a person an experience (Panel Presentation). Similarly, Chrystelle Bond

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stated that art, in this case, dance, “does something to you” (Bond 121). I completely agree with these statements, in that dance is so powerful and can influence and affect people in many ways. I find that when I use dance as a means of expressing emotion and conveying a message, I feel and hope the audience feels emotionally drawn into the movement as well as the music, and find the intent and significance of the dance. A personal example of having true intent on portraying a message was when I choreographed and performed a dance for my dance teacher. It was the last recital before she and her family would move to Arkansas. Ever since I was five, I had danced at her studio and after almost eleven years of my life being spent with her and her family my feelings for them ran deep into my heart. I could not think of a better way to express my sincere gratitude, appreciation, and love for her than by creating a dance, hence my belief that dance conveys messages that words alone are not sufficient to describe. The song I chose to dance to was titled “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion. As I along with three other dancers created this dance, then surprised our teacher by performing it as the last number in our recital, emotions were definitely present, and I believe that everyone watching “had an experience.” My mom, although her opinion may be somewhat biased, said that our dance was one of the most beautiful and touching dances she had ever seen. I believe something that made this dance so meaningful not only for us as the dancers, but even for those watching, was our intent. We invested every ounce of not only our energy, but

Alius true feelings as well into this dance and as a result the dance communicated and expressed our love for dance and our teacher. Elder M. Russell Ballard stated that “inspired art teaches things to the heart that the eyes and ears never understand” (Ballard 1). Our form of art touched hearts that would not have understood our love for dance or our teacher in a way that without it we would not have been able to communicate. I love this humbling yet divine power. This realization of dance’s emotional power is something that drives me to continue dancing. I truly love the feeling that comes when I choreograph, practice, and perform. I believe that everyone involved in dance, not only the performer, but choreographer and director included, can take part in this power, and help bring an experience to a studio, stage, or anywhere else dance is witnessed. Dance is powerful. Now setting aside the more in-depth perspective of one of the reasons I enjoy dance so much, let us discuss an aspect that generally everyone can relate to whether they have had specific dance training or not. Dance is fun, and offers a place for interaction with peers. In the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, even the First Presidency of our Church recognized that dance “provides an opportunity to meet new people” (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 21). As I stated earlier in my philosophy, I agree that dance is enjoyable and creates wonderful openings for friendships to develop. Many of my closest friends are those whom I have associated with during dance class. I believe this is because everyone has the same intent on improving themselves and is willing to help build each other to the best of their ability. Also considering the amount of time dancers spend together in classes and rehearsals, increases their chances of building close ties with one

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another. Friends are a very important, and in my opinion, an essential part of this life and as such

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we should appreciate and take advantage of every opportunity we are given to create and nurture these bonds. Through dance I also believe one can learn important life skills that can be used in everyday life. As Robin stated in our class discussion about dance advocacy, through dance we learn and develop important attributes that help us become not only better dancers but better contributors to the world and environment in which we live (Class Discussion). Through participating in class, dancers learn how to work well with others in a respectable manner, as well as accept being wrong. By having this “willing to learn” attitude, dancers are able to adjust and adapt our ways in order to make them more efficient and productive. We also learn self-discipline as we personally work on improving ourselves, which brings another desired attribute, self-motivation. Although all of these values are enhanced in a dance setting, they are instilled into us as dancers and we integrate them into our daily lives. Dance provides people with so many opportunities and life skills. It is a meaningful way of communicating thoughts and feelings, and creates a place where even those not involved are touched by its’ power. If we allow ourselves to be touched by dance I know it will inevitably enrich many lives. Besides the pure enjoyment dance brings to people, it is a beautiful and enjoyable way to remain healthy. Even so, health and communication are not the only aspects of life that are influenced by dance. Through my interactions with teachers and reflection on my own life and attitude, dance has helped me learn important skills that I incorporate into everyday activities and choices, even ones that are not dance related. Simply stated, I believe dance is a meaningful practice in which every part of the human: body, mind, and spirit is edified and blessed.

Alius Works Cited Ballard, M. Russell. “In the Language of Eternity.” Aug. 1996. <http://www.lds.org>

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Chrystelle Trump Bond. “An Aesthetic Framework For Dance.” Resource and Selected Readings Packet. p. 121, n.d. Konie, Robin. Class Discussion. 4 Dec. 2009 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For the Strength of Youth. Nampa: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2001 Rogers, Katy and Chase Thomas. Panel Presentation. 18 Nov. 2009

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