What is my unique voice in dance – it is an art of storytelling through the movement of our bodies. Our bodies are our canvas on which we can unfold our artistry in non-verbal communication. Most communication does not reside in words but in actions. Dance, like language, has an extensive vocabulary and by extending our knowledge of dance styles and repertoire we can develop our bodies to move to the music in a way that is distinctive to our personality. By attending classes by different teachers from different dance backgrounds, our dance vocabulary increases, and a number of moves we can execute to various music take on a new form.
Dance is about releasing one’s soul from the constraints of our physical body. Dance allows us to touch the spiritual side of our being. To immerse in dance, we have to engage our heart and soul in the beat and rhythm and lose ourselves completely to the music. The music is the master, our bodies are slaves to the bliss. In performance art, dance and theatre are similar artforms, in the sense that a dancer engages the audience into their performance and the audience feels inspired to start dancing along.
Partner dancing, however, is about dancing with a partner. The audience does not matter. It is about connection and chemistry of two different dancers coming together to paint a shared canvas to the music. It is possible to dance with anyone, even with someone who had not learnt dance. It’s about adapting to the scene partner. In theatre, we call the person who is interacting with us the “scene partner”. We have to ride on each other energies to deliver a dialogue. Partner dancing is about the dialogue between bodies in a non-verbal communication. Chemistry can be cultivated over time, and the connection is about engaging our fame and core. The more one dances with different types of partners, it increases the dancer’s adaptability to the stylistic choice of movements – and expands the usage of dance vocabulary that could be executed – from simple basic moves to complicated figures.
The fundamentals of dance are the baseline of what differentiates a good or great dancer. It isn’t about having more flashy moves or styling but it is about maintaining core fundamentals – poise, balance, core, flexibility, strength. Like being athletic, a dancer can take it professionally or nonprofessionally by choosing to train their fundamentals daily and keep to a diet and fitness regime. The main instrument of a dancer is his body. A dancer has to listen to his body to prevent injuries. A dancer has to understand their body to stretch their imagination to execute moves one day at a time – dancers aren’t born, they are made.
Dance is a meritocratic sport, the more time and effort one spends on practising with regular coaching and feedback, the more expansive the dancer becomes. There are no limitations to the art of dance, it is a lifelong learning process. Dance trends and fashions fade in and out, but once a person reaches into the heart of being a dancer, they will forever be a dancer.
In my dance, I aim to communicate my soul song to fulfil on love and beauty to the world. I want to inspire others to dance and partake in the joys of life with no limits. I want others who watch me be freed from their constraints and join me in my endless pursuit for self-actualization in freedom and happiness. I hope that one day, in my idealism and utopianism, that people from different cultures will dance together and end all wars and suffering. For we have a shared humanity and there is no need for violence when there are enough resources for everyone. For this, I will dance to the end of my days.
Sometimes I think
That maybe, long before we were born
Because even when our bodies are apart
It feels like our hearts are side by side
There is a line of thought that we have a soul mate – we shared one body and spirit before reincarnation on earth and that body split into two – male and female. As soulmates belong to the same body in their previous life, and in meeting in this life the affinity and connection feel like “hearts are side by side.” Physically, soul mates can be apart and still feel each other heartbeats. In this line of thought, it is stating that love and affinity can transcend distance and time.
I always, always
A voice calling my name, my name
Please don’t cry anymore
I can feel your love
There is another thought – which is we can hear our soul mate from a distance. In their distress, we have a sense that we need to be there for them. It is unspoken communication beyond the physical, going into the spiritual. It is almost telepathic. I had experienced this level of affinity with my best friend, and we are telepathic in our communication. That by being deeply connected and bonded with a person, you know what the person moods and emotions are even from a distance.
At some point I realised
That we were born apart
And because of that
We probably feel incomplete
As we pray for the same happiness
We’re carving the same wounds into our hearts
The key lyrics here is “carving the same wounds into our hearts.” What does that mean? There are opposite ends of emotions – happiness and sadness, pain and pleasure, love and hate. With intense love, comes intense loathing. This is the price of love, that there will be arguments, there will be wounds, there will be scars. It is all in the pursuit of happiness. When things are not right – there will be incompletions. I had mentioned in my previous post that in ancient China, the belief is that reincarnated lovers are those who had incompletions in their past life to be reincarnated into this life to face the same tribunals to make things right or they will be reincarnated again in a karmic cycle.
I’ll keep, keep calling
So that you never, never
Please don’t cry anymore
I won’t leave you alone or anything
I always, always
A voice calling my name, my name
Please don’t cry anymore
I can feel your love
I’ll love you
I love you, you
Even if time
I’ll still love you
Sometimes I think
That maybe if we’re reborn
Interestingly the end of the song lyrics, she mentions being reborn by sharing “one life”. Which means two souls meet again and form a bond to become one complete whole in their next life. This song is a beautiful portrayal of what a soulmate means in the metaphorical sense. It is not physical to us to see our souls, or feel souls or even prove or quantify love, but the very emotion and affinity that is there between lovers could very well transcend the physical in the literary sense is what makes love beautiful to seek for.
I was narcissistic, self absorbed and I spent long hours looking at myself in the mirror dancing and touching my body while imagining it is someone else’s hands doing so. I was exhibitionistic and had a few million views on YouTube. I took photos of myself everyday with precise selfie angles. I loved showing off my dance moves and displaying myself publicly uninhibitedly in a way that is empowering to the world who watch the way I move. However I had transcended my artistry from serving my need for validation to the disappearance of my ego by being the mirror of what the world has created me to be. I had chosen to pursue happiness by disappearing my ego into the universe, to find myself in the eyes of others. From the eyes of the universe, I see myself dancing in the cosmos – that is true happiness and bliss – my soul lives forever in the cyber galaxy.
There is no physicality to love, it can’t be proven or extracted or quantified.
Yet, it is the greatest form of ecstasy available to mankind.
It is the greatest elusive form that will not take shape till one commits to creating love out of nothing.
Yet, everything around us conditions us not to create it, but destroy and deny it.
However, it could be when one recognises love exists in the universe and we are all creations of love, that it could materialise into ecstasy by the form of numerous creations one could potentially create out of creating love and beauty to the world. It is the air we breathe, the songs we sing, the movements we make. Every part of us is filled with love, and without love, there is no aliveness. For love is aliveness itself.
Love is in the form of dynamic movement between individuals, groups and it radiates out to the universe, that they share the love we have for each other, baking and partaking in it in an endless dance in the cosmos. Love contributes all over the way it is and the way it isn’t. Love is the space beyond words. It has never been bounded by space and time, and love will exist even when we are gone, love will remain where it is, and where it isn’t. For humans had created the context of love to live into, and from this context, we can create and create, build and build on being magnificent in our love for each other.
I love you. For this, I beat on against the currents like the boats in the sea for the love lives on deep inside me.
I am walking and dancing as I walked through the office building complex. I ordered my coffee and flipped my wrist like a bachata movement like how a girl lays her hand on the shoulder of her partner. But there is no partner holding me. I am holding my wallet and taking out notes to hand it over to the outreached hands of the lady at the counter. I flipped my hand backwards as I zipped to close my wallet like another dance move before slipping it back into my bag. I glided a cross the floor to the music of Prince Royce singing in my mind as I picked up the warm coffee paper cup. As I opened the glass doors, I am pushing into a spin outwards towards the open air alfresco area. My feet start to move to the rhythm of the bachata music in my head, as I spin in circles and walked on pavements after pavements, up and down the stairs. To the security counter, to the automated elevators. I am working to the music and my movements are no longer under my control. My body is responding to the music, and the music had conquered my soul. As I wrote my email replies I moved my fingers to the music like tiny dance steps walking on the keyboard. I spin my chair and reached outwards to grab a glass to fill it with water. I am one with the dance and music through all my actions and even writing this.
I am at a crossroads. I don’t know what to do, or what to predict. I don’t know what to think, or to reason. I am quite an obsessive control freak when it comes to “planning”. It is part of my nature to ensure “things” go according to “plan”. However, as much as I would like to plan outcomes and control the future, I realised that I am losing the essence of the being in the present.
To regain my spontaneity in life, I picked up West Coast Swing (WCS) . You see, WCS is a improvisation social dance, that is danced according to the music. It is when your body loses control to the music, and you become a living instrument. A living piece of artwork. It has helped me tremendously in stopping my obsessive thoughts on controlling the outcome of my performance. In fact, the whole series of the Scarlet Queen on YouTube is done spontaneously, without much planning. Only an outline. The lines and scripts are said on the spot. There is no preparation. It is all live. There are no cuts, no edits, it is true blue spontaneity in action.
I try to imagine the message and artistic direction I want to convey, and after imagining for some time, I execute it with the best of my abilities given the resources I have in my immediate environment. You see, we humans evolved from monkeys. A few thousand years ago, we were on treetops, swinging around, using our motor and visual skills to navigate lush forests for berries and fruits. The ones who could possibly survive this “treetop” environment, were the ones who had sharp observational skills on detecting food sources and of course, fine motor ability so that one does not fall down from the trees onto the oncoming path of a tiger! In dance, we are using these primal skills in motor coordination and self awareness to execute dance steps. Not for the usage of retrieving food from treetops , but for sport and art (we had evolved from primates!).
As modern day humans, we had lost the connection to forests (which we are originally evolved to fit into), and are now perpetually connected to electronic devices 24/7 the moment we wake up and turn on the alarm clock to dusk when we switch off the lights. We are “electrified” by magnetic fields of radio and internet communication lines, and in transported in metallic vehicles and planes. We are slowly, but surely, evolving to become trans-human – where technology merges with our biological selves to become a mixture of a robot – human, basically.
Before this change takes place and we lose our hearts and emotions to the numbness of scientific evidence and coldness of technology, we have to regain some sort of essence within ourselves. Something… animalistic. Something… primal. Something… that wants to come out. We have not discarded our old ancient brain totally despite how much we want to disown the animalistic side of our natures, we are still – human – not trans-human.
The more we try to align ourselves with angels, the more we fall back into disappointments that we are merely animals. We still need – food, sex and shelter. We can’t live like flying angelic beings who have no need for food or material comforts. There is a old chinese saying. “Love does not quench your thirst when you are thirsty.” As much as we try to aim for the stars, we are still at the mercy of nature.
In dance, we might regain a certain connection with our animal selves. Our instincts. Our biological urge to express ourselves freely, to move wildly, like the days in the tree tops. To feel alive, to feel the connection with nature, with others, with the earth. To attract a mate, to impress others, to show our fine motor skills for a chance of propagation. To be free and wild… away from the constraints of society and social norms. It is … one of the remaining outlets of self expression in a “controlled” illusionary man made environment. That is… the beauty of illusion and control in dance.
The best love stories are about tragedy. Every famous opera – Swan Lake, Phantom and Madame Butterfly is about unrequited love. In Moulin Rouge, it is no different. This is the very movie, that inspired me to learn Tango – to this effect. In short – the story revolves around the lead actress, who has to gain the sponsorship of a rich businessman for the play to materialise. She is attracted to frame, glory, and diamonds. However, she falls in love with a lowly poet… whom she denies the love they have and instead says to him “a girl got to eat.”
In Roaxanne, a powerful scene, she has to choose between becoming a “prostitute” by sleeping with her sponsor, and gaining stardom… or to love a poet, who has nothing to offer accept love. Initially, she decides to go ahead to seduce her sponsor and sleep with him.. so she can be a star. When she sees the poet singing to her on the streets, her heart wavers…. and she realises that she is deceiving herself by sleeping with the wrong guy. Love… betrays you. Too late, she is in the bedroom of her sponsor… will her love prevail?
Why… does my heart… cry…. feelings… I can’t hide? – Poet
Tango.. is after all.. a dance of love and tragedy.