“I dance because dancing is life”
– ‘T’ – New York, NY – USA
Why do we dance? I dance because there is nothing else that engages me the same way physically, emotionally and socially all at once. It is a journey of perpetual growth alongside people I adore and cherish. But, I’m not the only dancer out there.
In a quest to find what drives us dancers in our crazy, colorful, passionate pursuit of dance, I decided to reach out to the community. From solo artists to stage performers and social dancers, some themes seemed consistent across genre and expression…
We dance to feel and express
“I dance because I’m happy. Or because I’m sad. Dance is an art, an outlet, a way to transform our emotions into a beautiful connected movement. To connect with another at our most vulnerable and exposed and create together.”
– Brad Meccia, Armada Zouk – Knoxville, TN – USA
The symbiosis of dancers’ bodies and the expression created through movement captivates many of us. It can help dancers simply connect to the world around us when we otherwise don’t know how.
“I dance to express my feelings. I enjoy standing in the middle of a big empty dance floor showing an audience what I have to express.”
– David Palombi, Toronto, ON – Canada
For some, dance is deeply personal and cultural. It is an expression of something within themselves and their culture; something that the can share with the world around them or simply their partner on the dance floor:
“I am African. By culture we express Joy, Sadness, love, hope by singing and dancing. Then couple years ago I moved in Canada. I was looking for a Healthy Addictive Hobby at low cost. Found it. Dancing for me is like vacation on deep connection with my partner and the dancefloor.”
– Jay Nandu (http://www.kizombamusik.com) – Toronto, ON – Canada
Words like “alive”, “feel”, and “express” come up in most reasons for dancing – and these things are almost always linked with joy and fulfillment.
“I dance because it makes me feel alive; feeling my body in motion in space and matter makes me feel like I’m doing something right, like I’m using the only special and unique thing I have on this earth. Then, the music allows me to experiment another dimension. So in short: dancing makes me feel completely present and completely absent all at once.”
– Sonya Dessureault – Jacksonville, USA/Montreal, Canada
For some, the roots go way back. It can be something that has helped them their whole life, or only for the last couple years. Many of us are introverts – seeking to communicate without words.
“I dance because I’ve been doing it since very young and it’s a part of who I am. It gives me an indescribable feeling that I can’t get anywhere else. I’m an introvert so it helps me communicate with people without talking.”
“As a musician, I’ve always been inspired to move to the beat while playing on the stage. To watch your art come alive and take on a whole new meaning than intended or maybe exactly what I intended, is the beauty and freedom of dance. It allows me to share my emotions, my connections, my feelings with my partner and others without ever saying a word.”
– Scott Mehlberg – Chicago, IL – USA
It is a form of art that people seem to view as innately both intensely personal and externally expressive. It is the marriage between personal fulfillment and external expressions of joy.
“Have you ever been to the space? I’ve been. Every time I dance. Music like a spaceship is brought me to the space of human being. Human has thousands and thousands different emotions, so each person is a galaxy. New dance partner – new ticket to a place I’ve never been. Moreover, in different cities, countries are different people with different mentality, culture… There are 7 billion people on the planet! You don’t need to be a spaceman which is prepared to spending all his life without movements in a spaceship. A dancer just need to close his eyes and feel the music…”
– Angelina Kvitka – Russia
We dance to heal
“I dance because it celebrates what we have. I find that there is a lot of pain, hardships and negativity outside the dance community, but inside the dance community is joy. I dance because there I find joy amidst a depressing world.”
– Greg Alex Nash, Waterloo, ON – Canada
Especially in an era of displacement, global travel, and mass media, it is easy to feel connected. Dance brings the ground back under one’s feet. For many people, they find dance amid the darkest times of their lives. Dance becomes a solace; a way to heal and forget their ills and to engage in a new and positive way. These dark times can be internal feelings of low self-worth, or external – like loss of a loved one or job.
“I dance because I like myself while dancing. I feel more beautiful, more graceful and free. I forget all the troubles and feel like in a different world. My thoughts and pain – mental and even physical- disappear. I am another person when I dance”
– Svetlana – Toronto, ON – Canada
Dance provides a new opportunity to build self-confidence. It is a realm of self-acceptance and acceptance of others. It predominately is a world of kindness. Rather than thinking and categorizing, it is a place where one can be governed by feeling.
“Dance is freedom and when I dance I switch my thinking off. Dance is a great way to build confidence and heal the soul…”
– Alicja Gocalek – Toronto, ON – Canada
We dance to have fun and connect
For some, dancing stems from a place of deep loneliness or isolation – like moving to a new country. Others start simply for something fun and new to do to meet people – whether for friendship or dating.
“Dance is connection. Connection to the music, connection to your partner, connection to your soul. The feeling you get from when you step onto the floor the first time to the end of the last song, that feeling is an exhilarating feeling. It is a feeling of freedom that cannot be explained by words; only experienced.”
– Greg Wong – Toronto, ON – Canada
As we grow in dance, we become closer and closer to our dance friends – who soon become friends beyond the dance floor.
“I find social dancing to be a lot of fun and it is very enjoyable to be able to express yourself in creative ways to the different styles of music, as well as experiment with the interactions you have with your partner while doing various movements. Another positive about social dancing is I have gotten to meet many different and interesting people. Many of these people have now become good friends outside of the dance scene.”
– Sean McKoy – Toronto, ON – Canada
We dance for all of these reasons together!
“I dance because it’s a great therapy for the mind, a way to express yourself, and to connect with others. Dance is a fun way to exercise your body. It is the ultimate way to feel the music you are listening to.”
– Igor Fraga – New York, USA
For most of us, dance isn’t a choice we make only on one of these things. It can be a collection of many personal reasons – sometimes even if one doesn’t know it. Every answer and reason to dance is unique – but it is the common threads that make us a community.
“1- I Feel connect and enjoy the beauty of motion and music
2- I lose myself in listening to music, which flows to my muscles. When leading the partner, there is always a flow from ears to muscles; the brain is just manipulating the flow. It is good practice of creative thinking and fast decision.
3- Giving a great feeling and energy to my partner,
4 – Staying fit
– ‘Joups’ – Toronto, ON – Canada
One thing is for certain: Once you find this magical world, it is very, very rare to leave.
“Looking back, I see that dance has been embedded in my genes since a very early age: I loved preschool songs and choreographs, I’ve done classical and contemporary ballet, hip hop, dance classes in school, and what we call Brazilian ballroom. For me, dancing is what music affords. It’s like reading a good book: it draws you into it’s magical world, and while I am dancing, I can be anything, from sexy to angry, to sad. Dancing allows me to emulate everything. It has all the words I lack.”
– Flávia Melcop – Toronto, ON – Canada
Why do you dance? Leave your answers in the comments below and share us on Facebook!