Experienced two dance performances in two days and a third one a week ago. Watching the audiences after each performance was a superb treat in itself. Antique persons like myself walk light on their feet. The rhythm of going to greet each other become a movie in itself.
My experiences covered a dance map, Modern Dance with Sharon Marroquin’s Las Cuatro Estaciones, Tap Dance with Acia Gray’s Listen, and Ballet with Stephen Mill’s The Magic Flute. Each one filled their audiences with a renewal beyond my ability to express in words.
The delight I feel is no mistake. My favorite neuroscientist Daniel Levitin woke up our awareness of mirror neurons “that fire both when performing an action and when observing someone else perform an action.” He says in This is Your Brain on Music” that both music and dance may be the “fundamental messengers…across individuals and generations…through which develop our beliefs, obsessions, and all art.”
How does this happen? Levitin says about music “The multiple reinforcing cues of a good song–rhythm, melody, and contour–cause music to stick in our heads.” This same vocabulary and effect applies to dance, and research is gathering about body-brain networks forming from both dancing and observing dance.
What I observe after these three dance performances is a particular kind of lightness and subtle poignancy that is unique to the combination of dance and music. The dancer is transferring an experience of something beyond our everyday celebrations.
Each dancer is transmitting their unique experience of personal excellence and also their experience of empathy for the experience of other dancers. We tap straight into that experience and into the courage of each dancer as they gather and sort the makings of themselves as a person, a character, and a messenger directly to our cells.
With dance the experience of watching a friend or a child dance is even more poignant. Add to that the possibility of experiencing a dance class with even the fundamentals of dance can be life changing. These are both opportunities to tap in to the very detailed experiences of dedicated dancers. Commercial over.
I take these experiences with me, of each individual dancer and their messages bonded together. I feel their messages. I know them inside of me. These messages are of hope for the next moments as I yearn for a combination of lightness and power. This is a particular kind of power that music and dance transmit. These are fundamental messages that I can now access.
Tim Hurst 04/01/17