|Posted by [email protected] on February 10, 2019 at 2:10 PM|
DANCE AS IT BEGAN
Dance in general is a performing type of movement. But where did it come from and why is it so important? Here we will start to find out about the thread that ties us all together. The information I share here is twofold. One, from what I have personally studied and learned in my career and life in dance. Secondly from what I have researched and gleaned from the wonderful people I have been fortunate enough to have befriended over the years. Those like La Meri, Ibrahim (Bobby) Farrah, Mariano Parra and the master Mahmoud Reda. Dancers it seems seem to love to talk and share about the art they love so much. So, here is to dance and a few things to share.
The dance is, undoubtedly, the oldest of the arts as rhythm is the oldest element of music and was created for and with the dance. That dance is an art, as such needs no defense. What does the word “art” mean? The dictionary says, “skill in performance acquired by experience, study or observation; application of skill and taste to production according to aesthetic principles”. This is the cold way of looking at it. Others have said 1. “the active, practical exercise of self-discipline.” 2. “concerned more or less with the unconscious creation of beauty”. 3. “having aesthetics principles”. 4. “the creation of beauty”. So, dance is therefore an art form.
In the beginning the dance was life. Science and legend agree that the cosmos moves in a rhythmic beat. Aesthetics is the theory or philosophy of taste; the sense of the beautiful.” The philosophic appreciation of any or all the arts, its discovery and contemplation.” Art therefore is creative and reflective. Rhythmic movement is always an art. Sometimes the state of beauty goes asunder due to man’s stupidity. But as God created the world by his art, so true art will never die while this world exists.
Ârt is not beauty an artist wants or needs to portray, but truth. Truth as it is seen through the temperament of the creative artist. The function of technique is only to stimulate the original emotion which gives birth to the work. The work of art is to excite the imagination of the spectator to the emotion of beauty. The audience is half of any art form. Without the receiver, no matter how perfect, all is lost in a void. From the beginning, the inspiration of art has been religion. Think of the immortal statues of Greek gods and religious subjects in Oriental dances.If beauty is sought, and only lies in truth then then do we need to understand the means through which it is expressed? If the task is to see the beauty then the task is to wipe away all that is ugly, distasteful or crude.
By no means the least of the maladies of the art of dance is the semi-artist. These are dancers who have not the humility to seek the truth nor the sincerity to seek it. Artistry is a quality of the soul, not a matter of public position. The true artist does not set out to create beauty for the applause of the masses. This is called by greed. This person works and only thinks of him/herself. This does not mean the artist is indifferent to appreciation and understanding. The semi-artist who brings sensationalism to society is a very real menace. He/she copies the greats, follows the fashion of the moment, looks for the easiest route, licks up compliments, spends money on a few lessons, expensive costumes and a chic presentation. He is content with the little circle around him/her and basks in empty smiles. This person will not last long, he will retire in a snit the moment something goes wrong or there is discouragement. There is always knowledge to attain, culture of mind and infinite training of the body.
Today we are sadly lacking in humility. Audience, critic and dancer alike! Art is composed of three substances-Truth, Labor and Humility. Let artists teach aesthetics through peace. It is not conquering, but teaching, that is our responsibility, that lies before us now.