Sunday, May 27, 2012

Body Language

Dance is like life in so many ways.  In every moment there are an infinite number of movements that you choose while dancing.  In life, every moment holds an infinite number of choices about what to see, think or say. 

Dancing is a way of expressing what cannot be said in words.  The body has a language all its own.  Many studies say that 93% of communication is non-verbal.  As Martha Graham said, “The body says what words cannot.”  In fact, words can be limiting.  Once you name something, you’ve taken away a part of its dimension.  You’ve brought it down to Earth rather than letting it be in the realm of no words. 

I was watching an interview with the actor Peter O’Toole.  Talking about his many roles, he said, “The parts chose me.  He knew instinctively when a part was his and when one wasn’t.  He also said, “Acting makes the words flesh.”   In the Harry Potter books it’s a widely known fact that the wand chooses the wizard.  The wizard then uses the wand to channel and create magic.

This makes me think about the difference between surrendering and allowing.  They are both about letting go and that is powerful, but somehow allowing feels stronger.  Allowing implies the trust that comes with knowing rather than just believing.  Surrender is doing. Allowing is being.    

In class, we use choreography, but even within that framework there are still an infinite number of choices.  Instead of choosing a movement, can we let a movement choose us?  Can we let the feeling and the music take over our bodies and just ride that wave?  Can we then be the movement?

It’s a little scary to give up what seems like control.  But control is an illusion.  Our power lies with our being, not our doing. 

His parts chose Peter O’Toole.  The wand chooses the wizard.  And dance chooses us -- all in order to create magic.    

The question is: can we allow it?

(Thanks to Beth Prins Leas for the Martha Graham quote!) 


  1. What a wonderful blog, Susie! From one writer (and dancer) to another, we both know that words are limiting, even though we choose which to use to best communicate our intent. Also, we have both chosen to dance to express that which we cannot express via words. And I agree that when we allow, magic transforms us and our world in ways which we could never have imagined!

  2. Hi Sue,
    I saw your flash mob dance in Westport with your group (and my wife Taly) and it looked really great! Since Taly is coming to your dance classes she is such a happy soul, thank you!

    1. Thank you, Yaron, and WE are so happy to have Taly dancing with us--she makes us happy, too!