A publication to engage the dance community. Learn. Discuss. Contribute. Enjoy.

Life Through Dance

What the Body Says

By Elizabeth Dickinson

The famous dancer/choreographer Martha Graham said, “The body says what words cannot.”

As a young actor, I was well aware that there were certain emotions in my family and in society that were valued and welcomed, and others that were not. On stage, all emotions (if sincerely and artfully expressed) were honored and applauded. One reason I appreciate art in all its forms is because space is created for those orphaned and unclaimed emotions.

I believe that is also why so many of us love to dance--we can express those emotions that don’t have a place in our daily lives. Additionally, we don’t need to come up with fancy phrases or explanations of why we feel a certain way. We just need to move.

Neuroscientists have found that grief resulting from tragic events is experienced in a different part of the brain from the feelings of sorrow we experience in fiction or by listening to a sad song. In a sense, those real feelings of grief or joy are transformed by artful expression into something we can own and cherish.

What do you allow your body to express through ballroom dance? Is there more in your life that ballroom dance can hold--or release?