Language Without Boundaries: The Beauty of Dance

By: Nala Bodden ’15

Dance is a form of art. It’s a way that I can express myself without words. It’s a language without boundaries. I love dancing because it makes me feel happy.

Dance is a form of art, expression and communication so ancient and second nature to every person, whether they choose to believe it or not. Whether it be tapping feet, bobbing heads, twirling, or sashaying across the floor, forms of dance are present in almost every society. Many people dance subconsciously, sometimes being so moved by the music that the urge to move is hard to resist. For these reasons, the thought that people can question the importance or effectiveness of dance is appalling. Even more shocking is that it is a question asked here at Groton School.

But, mostly, I love to dance because it seems so natural.

The dance program at Groton School represents some of the best aspects of sports and the arts. The freedom, liberation, beauty and uniqueness that dance offers provide a parallel to the arts. The friendships, workouts (though many don’t believe dance could be physically intensive) and mix of personalities exists in sports too. Interestingly, dance is where many professional athletes have turned to gain agility, balance and footwork in conjunction with regular sports practices. Dance is the place for kids who sometimes don’t have a place to go and for the kids who love it. Without dance there would be many students at a loss about what to do because they would have lost what they love to do and what they prefer to do when sports fail them. In addition, many Lower Schoolers who cannot turn to clubs would possibly be stuck in an activity they never wanted to do, creating unhappy experiences for them in what could be their first term at Groton.

I dance because I don’t know what else to do. ..I always find the time to dance. It’s not something that I really question. Dance is a basic necessity; like food or water.

Personally, I’ve danced my whole life. There has never been a year where I was not dancing. I started with Creative Movements as a toddler and year by year I gained a new type of dance: ballet, modern, tap, hip-hop, jazz and Horton. Dancing was never something I was forced to do or a burden, but rather an outlet for me to release much of the energy I had as a child, a place where I could learn to walk tall with proper posture and an air of confidence, where I gained coordination, flexibility and grace. These skills I carry with me in everything I do. Dance has defined so much of my personality and who I am. It allows me to discover what I like and do not like and gives me an opportunity to channel my emotions into an outlet that is both beautiful and fun. No matter the circumstances and obstacles, I always find a way to dance because it is as important to me as the air I breathe, the food I eat and the water I drink.

I dance because it’s the only way I know how to express myself properly. Sometimes words just don’t work…I dance to escape. I can shut the door of the studio and escape reality.

Last spring, Groton School’s dance production, Crossroads, was one chock-full of emotion that was expressed in the music, the lighting, the steps, the precision and the placing – all expressed in only the way dance could. Many of the pieces showcased raw emotions that the students experienced in regards to graduating from Groton or just how the past year had affected them personally. The dance titled “Why We Dance” featured many students and their reasons for dancing. The explanations ranged from escaping reality, feeling empowered, acknowledging beauty, expressing emotions or even getting girls. With such compelling reasons, the answer to the question of whether or not dance is important and effective is a no-brainer.

Dance, literally, liberates me. I feel capable and able to take risks. I feel useful. I feel beautiful… I dance to prove to myself that I have some worth.

All quotes from “Why We Dance,” a dance piece and song in last spring’s dance show, Crossroads.

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