A December article published by Huffington Post is still going around within the dance community on social media. For the original article, Huffington asked 39 dancers to write their answer to the question "Why do you dance?" on a piece of paper. The article contains photos of each of the dancers holding their answers - many of which resonate deeply with the rest of us within the dance community. This question is important and perhaps highly fitting, as the lifestyle of a dancer is no easy one. There should be - must be - something profoundly important that drives us to devote so much of our lives to our craft. So, why do you dance? For many of us, dancing seems to be a thing we discovered about ourselves rather than something we took on or decided on at a certain point in time. Pretty much any adult dancer will report having driven her mother nearly crazy as a child with her constant dancing, or at the very least, constant movement. In these situations, dance training was the only antidote to the complete and utter inability to sit still.
For others, our first discovery of the love to dance was about expression and emotion. Dance is a vehicle for expression that allows those of us who are not eloquent speakers to express in a very passionate, very personal, yet wordless manner. In these situations, dance is the key that unlocks a moving language of communication that is not limited by our lack of words. As Kayla Rowser, of Nashville Ballet, put it in her answer in the original article, "I dance because I love sharing a piece of my soul with the world through movement."
Still, there are a few answers not represented in the original article that are very significant to us here at Ballet 5:8. The first one is that:
We dance because it engages us and our audiences in something beautiful.
As an art form, a very significant aspect of classical ballet is the creation and display of beautiful, living, moving pictures. The stories told aren't always "happy," but the beauty of the art form is a consistent theme throughout the heights and the depths of that which is communicated through dance. The dancers spend hours upon hours training their bodies - even their fingers - to move in just the right way as to create the most beautiful shapes and lines. Choreographers spend countless hours painting intriguing, engaging, and beautiful pictures with music, movement and people. Costume designers spend more hours creating beautiful garments for the dancers that evidence dancers' lines and convey the feeling and emotion of the ballet. And the list goes on. For us, all of these preparations for the ballet are evidence of the centrality of beauty in the art form, and that there is something of value to be had in the pursuit of beauty.
But, what exactly is that thing of value to be gained in the pursuit of, and in the sharing of beauty? We think, at least, that things of beauty are evidence of the fingerprints of God, the ultimate Creator. And this leads us to the second, important reason why we dance:
We dance because...God.
We dance because we believe that we are not passionate about ballet by accident, but rather, we were created to be passionate about ballet by design: by the Creator. As we dance, as we express emotion, and as we share in beauty, as we play roles and tell stories through dance, we see, experience and share glimpses of the beauty of God himself, who made us all in His image. And as we dance, we have the opportunity to share our passion with others: not just the passion we have for dance, but so much more, the love and passion we have for our God. This is a God who loved us first and who gives us life, breath and the hope of a new life to come in His son Jesus. And that, we believe, is a good reason for anyone to dance.