Rachel Wynne: What is Dance?






Nature: Birds flocking at sunset, moving as one yet each with unique voices and flight mannerisms. Schools of fish. Grass reaching up in a high release of energy to the sky, flowers nodding to each other in a chorus of swaying color. Spiders bend at the knee, grasshoppers jump. The cyclical choreography of life in all it’s forms, of movement, survival, adaptation, of the food chain: this is dance.

What I’m saying here is not new. We know this. Nevertheless.

Rush hour, any city: hoards of people, each with their own body clock, timing, pacing, spacial awareness, feelings, emotions, degree of focus, physical abilities, likes, loves, and needs – all, on some level, come into play in the moment their train is boarding, their track number identified. This seeming hodge-podge of disparate entities suddenly become one organism, with one aim: I will be on that train before 6:04pm. As a dance artist, and being therefore fortunate (unfortunate?!) enough to often live my life outside the norm of the 9-5, I sometimes have the opportunity to observe this dance from outside of it. The dance of the humans. If just one of us is watching – and there’s always someone watching – the humans become the performers, in a part of this daily dance. The finale: ‘Ladies and Gentlemen this is the 6:04 to Spring Valley.’ I sometimes wonder if the heavens applaud us.

I was standing on a bridge in London many years ago, looking down at the traffic below. All one way traffic, seven lanes or so, and a major junction up ahead. Motorists had the equivalent of not much more than a city block to traverse as many lanes as they needed in order to be in the correct lane when the junction sprang itself upon them. Traffic at the time was heavy, but moving – cars, trucks, motorcyclists moving around, behind, in front of, and beside each other. Each car indicated. Some cars honked. And everyone was a part of this choreography. Whatever happened, whoever cut in front of them, whoever they cut in front of – they got to their chosen lane in the end. I watched this scene, and realized: this is dance. Each day, each of us is involved in hundreds of scenes such a this, contributing to something larger than the sum of all these parts.

Yes, all the world is a stage, all of us together, cockroaches, politicians, submarines, dancing our daily dances as part of this one performance. The reason I dance is because I feel a part of it all. In the past, when I didn’t feel connected to the dance, I simply ‘stopped’ for a while. The dance doesn’t stop though. Even as an observer, in those brief moments of illumination, we are still a part of it as audience. Each of us, consciously or unconsciously, is a dancer, and each of us is priveleged to be a part of this grand performance.

– Rachel Wynne
rachel-wynneRachel Wynne is a founder of expandance – http://www.expandance.blogspot.com.

Bourgeon’s mission, through our online publication and community initiatives, is twofold: to increase participation in the arts and to improve access to the arts. Bourgeon is a project of the not-for-profit Day Eight.
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