To be able to convert words into dance, then forget about the words all together and just let the dances happen on their own. That’s the direction I should strive to take my dancing, and even my writing.
In a recent episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers, actor Zachary Quinto said of acting that he had recently been required to learn to move beyond just the meaning of the words. He had to learn to infuse them with the emotion behind them, not just recite them.
This sentiment about acting echoes comments from a recent reading in one of our Anatomy For Dancers assignments, in which the author of the article essentially said the dance truly became art only after the dancer learned how to stop thinking about it and just let it happen. The dance, like the text of a scene, has a degree of intrinsic meaning while being executed even when the performer is thinking about it in the process. However, the true art of the dance, like that of the text, does not prevail until the body becomes not a separate creature but one with it, free of conscious thought. The true art of dancing, happens when the dancer becomes one with the dance, when the arms and legs and core all become instruments of the work, rather than the other way around as it is when a person starts learning it.
Initially, poetry and coordinated movement alike are tools a person uses to enhance their own appearance. However it is not until the rolls are reversed and the living entity becomes the tool, rather than the showcased being, that true art happens.
As I reflect on my new but continuing journey as a dancer, I become newly aware how vital it is that I work hard and spend vast amounts of quality time practicing my crafts. Through no other means can I open myself up to the opportunity of being the instrument of the beautiful works I’m striving to learn to execute, both in writing and in dance.
I don’t believe in mere “coincidence.” I’m a Christian, and I believe God teaches us and shows us things through seeming “coincidences” and that the more of them we see that point to one specific course or lesson, the more attention we must pay to being good students of these lessons. As the great poet Robert Frost once said:
“How many times it thundered before Franklin took the hint! How may apples fell on Newton’s head before he took the hint! Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly, we take the hint.”
So, I’m taking the hint. This is how I’m going to become a great dancer, and an even better writer. By striving to learn these movements and sequences and words so well that not only do I recreate them, but they recreate me.