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Dance As An Artform

Dance is usually classified as one of the fine arts, along with painting, music, and theater. Indeed, there are many instances throughout history in which the arts cannot be separated: ballet is a wedding between dance and music, opera as joining of theater and music. Paintings of dancers seem to move with unheard melodies, as seen in paintings of such artists as Degas. Blue Dancers offers a bird’s eye view of the swirling expressive dancing of 4 ballerinas. The Dance Class, with its lengthy perspective and centerpiece of an elderly dance instructor, captures the kinetic energy waiting to be released by the young students. Dancers in Pink dance wear brings to mind the flurry of excitement before every performance, while the balcony view of The Ballet Rehearsal on Stage offers a pre-performance view of practice in the harsh glare of stage lighting. While Degas may have captured the essence of ballet in painting after painting, other artists have done their share of representations. But, dance is not just an art in that it is represented in artwork, it is, in itself, a work of art.

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A Performing Art

Unlike literature, painting, or sculpture, dance is a performing art. Part of the magic of this medium is the personal investiture required for each performance. The dancer gives up part of himself or herself with each performance.

With any art form, rejection is taken as a personal affront, if not outright attack. However, in the performing arts, that rejection is face-to-face and immediate. Not only is the performer exerting himself physically and transcending to the spiritual, he is translating music to the viewer. He is physically demonstrating emotions, unspoken thoughts, and even philosophies of the choreographer and composer. This commitment of the entire body and skills set certainly transcends mere exercise.

Personal Expression

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Dance, as with other arts, is a form of personal expression. Many people who play an instrument, paint, write, or dance do so in the privacy of their own homes. How many people sing in the shower, but wouldn’t dream of singing in public? People striving in the arts in this way are pushing themselves to see what is inside. They are working to determine what their soul is trying to express, what their spirit craves, and to become familiar with their inner muse. As a form of art, dancing enables these people to invest more of themselves into their expression.

Personal expression also can be through cultural outlets. It can tell history, express cultural beliefs, or display religious commitment. The Quakers, for example, believed that by bringing every muscle of their body under their conscious control at the same moment, they would enter into a state of grace. Observers saw the resulting apparent spasms of their religious dancing, and thus, the term “Quakers” was born.

Whether dance is for the sake of the dancer, or used as a form of communication to reach out to others, is holds its own as a form of art.

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