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McKenna Allred Dance 261 Ed Austin 11 December 2013 dance: verb \dan(t)s, dn(t)s\ I have heard the statement

many times that everything is a dance. The way in which we as humans interact with other humans, objects, or even just feelings is all a complicated tango that we have lovingly titled life. I do agree that multiple aspects in our life are dancing, but not all. From the way our body screams no and clutches to the blankets as we flop out of bed early in the morning to what we choose to do with ourselves in the kitchen as we wait for the water for our oatmeal to heat up, or even the awkward side to side shuffle that is performed as we approach someone and neither of us know which way to go around the other is dance. Yet, I believe that dance, as a broad term, is undefinable. Not one person in this world possesses the right to define dance for everyone and claim that they have mastered this definition. Simply because the definition of dance is unique, personal, even sacred to each individual person. This is my personal definition of dance. As I view the world today there is so much beauty it is overwhelming and almost unbearable. From the beauty of a sunrise to the simple joy of a new life that starts every day, we as humans have the opportunity to take this beauty and make something out of it rather

than just merely looking at it. What a precious and unremarkable gift this is. I believe that when we take this beauty and study it, we can learn to speak its language . This dialect is not expressed through words and text but through movement. This movement yearns to communicate to more than just the brain. We all use the same words and phrases, yet the way we combine these words differs person to person, or as we all speak the same language but have different accents based on our background and what we are choosing to represent, the same can be said with dance. The ballet dancer that looks upon a hip hop dancer with an upturned nose claiming that hip hop clearly doesnt have the same physicality and talent that ballet demands simply does not understand the hip hop dancers accent to the overarching language that is dance. I believe that dance can say things that cannot be communicated vocally. Not purely because movement can speak louder than words, but also because for every word that dance expresses there is not a parallel word to be spoken. I believe that dance is always the right thing to say. I believe that dance conquers fear, as you step out onto a stage in front of hundreds of people with only your body to work with, this vulnerability humbles and scares me more than I would like to admit. But as the music flows and your body responds and suddenly you begin to create and inform. That exact moment is when the fear dissipates and you realize that fear is nothing but a precursor to something absolutely wonderful.

I believe that dance is strength. In my life dance has been the force that has pushed me to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. There is a no greater discipline than that of the mastery of the physical body. To command and receive a response from the very vessel in which you are living brings not only a sense of a physical conquering but of also emotional strength. I believe that dance screams rebellion at the thought of social norms. Martha Graham, Mia Michaels, Wade Robson, these influential dance masters did not discover something new by following the steps of people before them. Dance proves that stepping away from what is known as the right way to do it will not always bring destruction. Dance expresses that in order to make a difference you have to be different. We are expected to portray perfection and poise as we go about our day to day actions. But as you step into a dance studio all expectations are thrown out the window as you are given choices. You can portray this perfection or you can portray the sorrow or the anger in your life . Dance contains no limits. I believe that dance is not limited to the human body. We cannot overlook the aspect of the soul in dance. Dance starts with the soul and extends through the limbs. Many people question the expression of certain forms of dance because of what they are portraying on the outside. They stereotype that crumping is too angry and that ballet is too composed. But we simply cannot claim to know what the dancer is feeling while they are performing.

When I tell people that I dream of being a dance teacher, they politely smile and throw words at me like fun and cool. They remark on how stress free my career path will be compared to theirs as they caress their shiny new nursing degree or PhD. And I can see the question behind their eyes asking if success will find me or if I will just crumble with a pointless degree in my hands. And my answer to their doubt is this. In the world today there is so much darkness and hurt. As long as there is still heartache in this world there will ALWAYS be a need for dance . Dance soothes more hurt than any medicine or your Mamas famous herbal tea ever could. I can think of nothing more than what I would be honored to do with my life than to teach people this. I will not be rich, my feet will be everlastingly ugly, and my knees will give out on me at an early age. But witnessing a student have an aha moment when their mind and body click together to finish the puzzle or watching a student find release in a piece of movement, just the thought of this, brings tears to my eyes even today. Dance is a gift that I have been blessed to carry through my life and as Ive experienced its power I have grown more and more eager and anxious to share this with others. To put it simply,

I am honored to be a dancer and to have my own definition of dance.

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