Day 41: Why Don’t We Dance?

by ashleighpenrod

I’ve always wondered why more of us (Americans, generally) don’t dance. It feels wonderful and it’s incredibly therapeutic. It’s nearly impossible to not smile during and/or after a great dance break.

Tiny Dancer

Every time I’ve veered away from it, dance makes its way back into my life, all sneaky-like. I am currently the proud holder of both a B.A. and an M.F.A in dance. But I firmly believe that a degree is not necessary in order to appreciate, love and use dance to make life better. That’s me on the right, a couple of years before college.

To me, dance is perfect. It connects our minds to our bodies in ways that are impossible to manufacture with other activities. Thinking about an arm, a knee, a hand or one toe so deeply that the owner knows his/her body—really knows it—awakens parts of the brain that don’t otherwise engage. It’s a beautiful thing.

So, I’ve always wondered why more of us don’t dance.

I do realize it can be scary and vulnerable. We get nervous around people expressing themselves with their bodies. Outside of the theater or the dance club, we don’t understand why someone would gyrate their pelvis or thrash their arms around. When a person enjoys a solo dance party on the street or in the park, we tend to see them as drunk, disturbed or out of control.

And maybe they are.

But maybe not. Maybe they just get it. Maybe they understand that one’s body is more than skin and muscles and bones, and it’s more than a temple. Our bodies are so deeply us. They’re our brains. Our souls. Our bodies are ours in ways that nothing else will ever be ours. And when they’re broken, or they don’t work how we think they should or they don’t look quite right, they’re still ours. They’re still amazing.

And we can always, always dance.