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Dance Philosophy

Hailey Morgan
Dance 261
November 21st 2016

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As a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have grown up learning
to have and live strong values in my everyday life. When I was younger my mother taught me
the importance of love which has impacted both me and my dancing throughout my life. But,
most importantly I have found there is a progression to love that one must encompass to become
their full potential in dance. It’s to love the Savior, Jesus Christ, love one’s self, and to love the
audience and everyone around you.
I had a teacher who would tell me that whatever I choose to do in life, I need to be good
at it and do good with it, and the easiest way to accomplish that is to live a Christ centered life.
The gospel can give us perspective, M. Russel Ballard said,
“If we are determined to live by Heavenly Father’s plan, we will use our God-given
moral agency to make decisions for our lives based on revealed truth, not on the opinions of
others or on the current thinking of the world. We will use the inspiring opportunities around us
to increase our talents. We will use all that God has given us to help bring to pass His purposes.
We will lift, inspire, and change hearts to help make people better than they might have been”1.
The most known artists are those who have a different perspective and a passion to create
to influence people. They are those who portray deeper topics that are more easily expressed
because dance is a connection to the spirit that can express concepts and feelings that words
cannot and I honestly believe that. When a person connects that power through the love of Christ
they may better develop and understanding for everything around them. K Newell Dayley said
“The creative flame that ignites artistic creation has its origin in “the light which is in all
things.” Christ is the source of the power that is within us whereby we exercise “free will, and
bring to pass much righteousness” (D&C 58:27–28). His light gives life to our creative potential.
His love impels us to creative action. Art itself appears because there is a spark of the divine
nature in God’s children.”2
1. Ballard, M. Russell. "Filling the World with Goodness and Truth - Ensign July 1996."
Ensign. July 1996. Accessed October 10, 2016.
https://www.lds.org/ensign/1996/07/filling-the-world-with-goodness-and-truth?lang=eng.

2. Dayley, K. Newell. "Centering the Arts in Christ." BYU Speeches. March 6, 2001.
Accessed October 2016. https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/k-newell-dayley_centering-artschrist/.
3. Graham, Martha. "I Am a Dancer." 1952.

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The most memorable dances that I have performed were that of a sacred nature. They
were dances of ancestry, of service, of love and hope, all with their source of light through the
love of Christ. That’s why He has given us gifts, because every gift has the power to inspire and
if we aren’t using it to inspire, we haven’t unleashed our full potential in it. A strong dancer has a
connection to their core, and when that core is connected to Christ, they have found a center.
Martha Graham perfectly expresses this by saying
“I am a dancer. I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by
practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living.... In each it is the performance of a
dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a
sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”3
There are things that stop us from creating, and a huge part of that is confidence and the
love for one’s self. When confidence is limited, creative powers are blocked. To get pass this I
have found that I must appreciate my body and what it can do and when I discovered the power
in this I have need to share. The body is a sacred gift and is compared to a temple, and in a
temple, each and every item has a meaning and a purpose just like that of a body. Martha
Graham said
“In a dancer, there is a reverence for such forgotten things as the miracle of all beautiful
bones and their delicate strength…In all of us who perform there is an awareness of the smile
which is part of the equipment, or gift, of the acrobat We have all walked the high wires of the
circumstances at times. We recognize the gravity pull of the earth as He does. The smile is there
because he is practicing living at that danger. He does not choose to fall. At times, I fear walking
that tightrope. I fear to venture into the unknown. But that is part of the act of creating and the
act of performing. That is what a dancer does.”4

4. Graham, Martha. "I Am a Dancer." 1952.

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A dancer finds breath, a connection to the spirit. A dancer find and pushes limits on
bones and muscles. A dancer knows the body can do amazing things and when that is realized a
whole world of opportunities is reached.
Finally, there is a love for the audience and everyone around you. The focus now isn’t on
the dancer but on how to touch and reach to each individual. From the happy hearts to the sad,
from the loving to the angry. To focus outward the audience can connect. I dance to bring peace,
I dance to call to awareness, I dance for them and give a part of me each time I dance. It’s
because I love them. I dance to bear testimony, because if I can bring good for even just one
person in my whole life, I will be accomplished. It has never been for me. God’s gift was never
meant to be hidden. Christ taught us to love, and that passion for my sisters, my supporters,
spectators, and even enemies is what drives me. In focusing out I have learned more than they
will ever know. Elder Neil A. Maxwell said
“While true creativity is something that can be shared by those who appreciate the works
of creation, true creativity does not depend entirely for its satisfactions upon “consumers.” It is a
highly personal experience in which we are grateful to the Lord for helping us to see beauty and
truth and the order of things, for restructuring our understanding of things, if necessary, to accord
with things “as they really are” creative experience is intrinsically satisfying. Then whatsoever
appreciation comes from others for one’s efforts—such an added blessing!”5
God has given us the gift of dance for a reason. It is our responsibility to not use it from
any earthly perspective rather an eternal one, its Keith Merrill taught “Great art touches the soul
in unique and uncommon ways. Inspired art speaks in the language of eternity, teaching things to
the heart the ears can never understand”6 This is why I dance, because yes, as dancers we have

5. Maxwell, Neal A. "Creativity." New Era. August 1982. Accessed October 10, 2016.
https://www.lds.org/new-era/1982/08/creativity?lang=eng.
6. Merill, Keith. "God’s Purpose For The Artist In The Gospel Plan." Meridian Magazine.
June 29, 2000. Accessed October 10, 2016. http://ldsmag.com/article-1-1380/.

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the capably to touch others through our gift in an inspiring way. We must only do it with right
intentions, for that is the purpose of dance.

Bibliography
Ballard, M. Russell. "Filling the World with Goodness and Truth - Ensign July 1996." Ensign.
July 1996. Accessed October 10, 2016. https://www.lds.org/ensign/1996/07/filling-theworld-with-goodness-and-truth?lang=eng.

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Dayley, K. Newell. "Centering the Arts in Christ." BYU Speeches. March 6, 2001. Accessed
October 2016. https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/k-newell-dayley_centering-arts-christ/.
Graham, Martha. "I Am a Dancer." 1952.
Maxwell, Neal A. "Creativity." New Era. August 1982. Accessed October 10, 2016.
https://www.lds.org/new-era/1982/08/creativity?lang=eng.
Merill, Keith. "God’s Purpose For The Artist In The Gospel Plan." Meridian Magazine. June 29,
2000. Accessed October 10, 2016. http://ldsmag.com/article-1-1380/.