The Psychology of Dancing

 Quangsen (@Jackiequang)7 years, 3 months ago

“Thinking is the biggest mistake in dancing. You have to feel.”

-MJ

As an avid dancer, I feel that it is universally acknowledged that all dancers strive to become one with the music when they are placed in a specific milieu. The environment (music, people, and atmosphere) can either disempower or empower a dancer’s ability to express him or herself, thus suggesting that dancers are greatly dependent, or perhaps even on the mercy, on the music that is presented. A ballroom dancer may find it difficult to perform to high-paced electronic music, while a breaker or b-boy may similarly find it difficult to perform to soft jazz. This is why musicality, the ability to feel the ‘pulse’ of the music is a prominent factor which contributes to distinguishing between a good dancer and a great dancer. A good dancer may have the techniques to explicitly convey ‘structure’, however a great dancer has the ability to implicitly ‘feel’ the music and ‘flexibility’ to manifest their own unique interpretation of music intuitively.

The very foundation of dancing is self-expression, similar to any other form of creativity that has a conceived notion of style such as: cuisines, martial art styles, art styles, movies, video games, music genres, bands, or organizations. They all derive from the fundamental part of the human psyche: our identity and values. One criterion for identifying such activities is that they evoke a sense of profound connection when one is immersed in the activity, which is felt based on emotion and intuition rather than through logic and reason. Such notion can be associated with passion or self-actualization, the human need for creativity and self-fulfillment. By committing to any creative activities allow us to feel infinite, which is why dancers may often associate the experience of dancing with ‘freedom’, ‘passion’, or ‘spirituality’. Every dancer seeks for her or his own unique space (music/people) that they thrive in and a style that is congruent to their identities, principles, and values. Being highly adaptive to different styles of music can be arguably a style in itself, however having shallow mastery can suggest indecisiveness and the lack of commitment to one identity.

Unfortunately, as it is a part of a human desire to feel acknowledged and significant, there are times where we find ourselves wanting to prove that we are that we are significant, sometimes through unresourceful ways, by comparing ourselves to others. Doing so ultimately suggests that we are conditioning ourselves to resist rather than accept what comes along in life. We become insecure and self-doubting in means of unconsciously self-affirming that we are superior over others around us. We dwell in the fear of not being good enough, we live in a reality that convinces us that there are factors outside our control which threatens our very being, we resist change and fear the unknown. To conclude, the beauty of creativity and a passion is that it allows us to fulfill our meaning, our calling, however it also comes with the challenge of being able to accept the differences of others. Every individual is different but interconnected, therefore, it is meaningless to debate ‘what is art’ because the act of doing so simply creates resistance and the essence of art is the existence of such diversity. Life is a spectrum of colors, not a selection.

February 17, 2014 at 5:31 am
Anonymous (107) (@) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

I had an insight about dancing today while listening to the lyrics ” Dance cuz you must love out of lust”. The insight is…. the lyric. Haha see if we think about dancing like MJ said it just doesn’t work. Dance because you have to dance. I’m sorry I’m sure this is a great bunch of paragraphs but I can’t read it because it contradicts the first quote.

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Sam (13) (@samueljohngibbs) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

Dude, if you haven’t read the paragraphs how do you know it contradicts the MJ quote? And what gives you any authority to comment given you don’t know what’s been said?

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Anonymous (107) (@) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

dude I know, right

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LVX (297) (@Vovinawol) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

It’s different, but who am I to judge
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtPu-EAJf6s

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josephm (772) (@josephm) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

i disagree. thinking is integral to dancing. when muscle memory is max level for ideal set’s of movement patterns, and chi is balanced, then thinking then locks into muscle memory(while being dismissed in the immediate conscious mind, it is only set aside for our computer brains to pick up slack). at high levels of repetitiveness, thinking becomes attuned towards flow and transitions, instead of new concepts. dotted i’s cross the t’s. MJ’s thinking cap was on to showcase intensity.

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Sam (13) (@samueljohngibbs) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

Interesting post. Love the last few sentences and agree entirely.

I would make one point, however…. you don’t need music to dance!!! :)

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Anonymous (175) (@) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

I agree, I think dancing is about “being” the music.

I started to learn to dance, and frankly it’s hard lol.. I guess the key is practice as with all things, but dancing takes a lot of co-ordination.

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Emily (12) (@ekich) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

I also really enjoy the beginning and closing statements, especially “Life is a spectrum of colors, not a selection.” I think that there is a difference between the passions that you pursue for others and the passions you pursue for yourself. It should always start out with the self, and then, if others enjoy it, you may decide to go on pursuing it for others (i.e. making a career out of it). Or, you may not. If, however, people don’t like the way that you dance or make art or what have you, it may be because you’re not moving or painting in an orthodox manner, or it may be because you’re not ultimately doing it for your own enjoyment in the first place–just seeking approval from others from the very beginning. Whatever you do, fucking own it! Really losing yourself to music (or anything, for that matter), won’t even have you thinking about the way that others perceive you. Yes, there is always more acceptance needed, but the answer to acceptance IS losing yourself in your art (and giving the acceptance you want to receive as well–even (*especially*) if it means accepting someone who DOESN’T appreciate the art you put out into the world). Art is created from our inner emotions and complexities, and sometimes, the viewers just don’t feel the way that the dancer or the artist feels, so the art doesn’t resonate with them. I do believe that art is meant to be loved by someone outside of ourselves, if we can first learn to love it on our own, but certain art has to come for certain people at a certain time. I don’t love all the art that I see, and I don’t think I’m meant to. The important thing for me, however, is that there is always respect and openness towards the artist who made it.

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Bartleby the Scrivener (29) (@unpaid-intern) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

I dance myself clean because it’s the only time I don’t have to think. If i could nonstop dance for the rest of my life I would.
@jackiequang now, are you trying to say we should dance as an expression of our feelings or dance as an art?

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Quangsen (2) (@Jackiequang) 7 years, 3 months ago ago

Admittedly, I should have formulated my ideas more clearly. Although I focus on dancing in the beginning, I wish to discuss about why people are drawn towards creativity in general (e.g. dancing, art, music, etc) not just strictly dancing, and the third paragraph focuses on a more broad perspective of how people interact with art.

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