The Breath and Soul of Dance

By Spencer Stebbins (Excerpt from original piece)

Music has a certain rhythm, a certain beat, and a certain power that draws the listener in. Whether you love classical or rock, music recreates itself into a living being that speaks directly into your ear, pulling out and enhancing your emotions. Whether you close your eyes and let your imagination flow from one world to another or throw in your headphones and let the music carry your body to a certain beat while you run, music pushes you beyond your limits and resounds through your whole body. When we look to dance as an art form, we begin to see the music we hold dear come to life in another human being. We see a variety of emotions play out. And when we take a moment to let all else fade away, we become a part of the dance itself as our hearts and imagination are taken in by the performance.

The Paul Taylor Dance Company performance at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center was spectacular and an experience well worth having. In works ranging from classical to jazz, the dancers brought ideas to life and drew you in with their powerful, yet graceful, movements. One dance made your mind race in time with the fast rhythm of the music and the quick steps the dancers took. Another dance had you laughing and smiling as the music evoked a comic atmosphere where you could almost hear small kids laugh. Yet when it came to a serious, powerful, and emotional piece, those same dancers had the power to pull your heart and capture your mind.

The emotional impact was enhanced by the choices in lighting and colors made by the costume designer and director. I love to draw and paint, and I personally know the importance of the use of various colors in order to portray various emotions. I applaud the Paul Taylor Dance Company for incorporating this effect into their various pieces.

Dance is a beautiful expression of art that everyone should experience. Yet I noticed a large percent of the audience was middle-aged or elderly and this had me asking: Is dance like this, as an art form, not of interest to my generation? Has technology or a changing society created a gap where my generation has become more enthralled with “So You Think You Can Dance?” and “America’s Best Dance Crew” so that we lack interest in dance styles performed by groups like the Paul Taylor Dance Company? Sure, this was my first time seeing such a performance (and I was there to write about my experience), but it opened my eyes to a whole new idea of art. The performance has shown me that in dance, music resuscitates the human body, makes the human body pulse and flow with rhythm and beat — and its pulls at your heart where you’ll find those locked-away emotions you keep hidden.