Dancing Through Social Justice

Last night I had the pleasure of going to the Fall for Dance Festival at NYC Center. Four dance companies performed and it was exquisite. It got me thinking about communication and how only about 20% of communication is verbal and the rest is non-verbal, however dance is all non-verbal.

I have heard it said that:

 Actions speak louder than words

or

 Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me,

well than why do words hurt so bad?

The second company last night that performed did a sequence of pas de deux (dance of two). In this ballet it was so graceful and beautiful that it made me start thinking about why we all can’t just take a step back and appreciate life more often. Why can’t we put in more effort into our communication so that our words contain the elegance that this movement had that I was witnessing.

My thought was that if people put in half the effort, that these dancers put into this performance, into the 20% verbal communication they partake in maybe we would have a better world. A world that is more inclusive, one that did not engage in conflict, and one that can be ruled by leaders who are not thought to be corrupt.

Yes I can argue that dance is still traditional in the sense that for the pas de deux it is usually danced by a man and a woman and the man supports the woman. I could have made a post like this but dance constantly challenges many topics. It has the ability to alter moods, makes people laugh, cry, and put in an utter state of awe. It also can portray challenging issues to talk about like mental health, domestic violence, and marriage equality.

When it is hard to put in words it probably can be put into a dance. I chose to make a different post this week to encourage you to step back and enjoy the little things. Remember why you are doing what you are doing and what it may be leading up to and ask yourself if in that moment are you happy? If not, what can you do to change that. For a moment forget about being politically correct, striving for social justice, or racing towards the subway and just be and remember you are just human and you are trying the best you can.

My hope is that the more people realize we are just human the more we realize we deserve equality, freedom, and the chance of happiness for everyone. Don’t forget that equality is not a gender issue, it is not a race issue etc. it is a human rights issue!

3 comments

  1. I like your thoughtful writing and the angle you choose that make connections between dancing and social justice. I agree with you that dancing have the power to express things that we cannot say by words. Dancing needs to be learned by heart with deepest emotions, not Logos. Long before language is created, people can dance. It is the most original form for human beings to express their emotions. In modern society, we are distracted so much by different information and spin. But you can never lie in dance because dance is pure and emotional. Maybe in PR it is the same. We need to be sincere, even though the prejudice that PR always lies is pervasive. Personally, I am tired of tracking all those scandals in public. The day before they stated they are innocent, the day after they became criminal. I am wondering maybe sometimes it is better to show the sincere idea and be honest, just like dance. What you need to do is to show your sincerity, and thus you can keep your dignity in the showy world.

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  2. What a great piece, Geena. I really appreciated your comment about people needing to put effort into their 20%, verbal communication. Words can hurt, so it’s always important to just be aware and be kind and courteous to the people around you. I also liked how you took the art of dancing and tied it to so many important lessons. You’re right, dance is so powerful and it can really help identify core societal and personal issues. I’m curious, what are your thoughts on dance performances? Do you think more people should start going to them so they can experience these important lessons?

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    • Thank you for your comment! I love dance performances, I have a bias as a dancer and would suggest you go to more performances just based on that. The theater is an experience within itself with its own culture.

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