Dance, A Spiritual Thing
a KjzzFuzion perspective article on dance and spirituality
“Dancing is meditation on speed!” –Jaai
We can all agree that there is something special about dance. It does something to us that we often describe as magical or simply a great feeling. In a world of uncertainties and worries, dance can help us escape into a peaceful place to regroup. As dancers, we have the ability to enter that peaceful place freely but, where is this place?
We recently interview GD from Ivory Coast. He had some unique perspectives on dance and spirituality. To him, spirituality is beyond all religious considerations. Spirituality helps him transcend the daily worries of life and connects his body to his inner self. He considers his inner self to be the greater consciousness within and a direct link to a higher being. In a sense, spirituality is a way of finding an alignment between mind, body and soul. To him spirituality is a lifepath that brings the mundane closer to the divine and eventually turns the mundane into something divine.
GD also describes dance as an item of culture and social construct. To him, dance is not merely rhythmical movements in time to music. It is a vehicle to your spirituality. He states that in Ivory Coast, dances are associated with religious practices involving communications with the Spiritual Forces of Nature.
In our readings we found new insights to communications in dance. “Traditional dances impart cultural morals, including religious traditions and sexual standards; give vent to repressed emotions, such as grief; motivate community members to cooperate, whether fighting wars or grinding grain; enact spiritual rituals; and contribute to social cohesiveness.” — Hanna, Judith Lynne (1973). African Dance: The Continuity of Change. Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council. 5: 165–174. JSTOR 767501.
Social dancing today has a direct link to traditional dances of the past. The movements are rhythmical in time to music and the spirit. When we “connect” in dancing we enter a place where we are communicating with our inner selves. In a sense, dancing is a highly evolved form of meditation.