Sports vs. Dance

Since I have had many athletes in my Dance 6 classes over the past few semesters, I keep come back to the recurring idea that athletics and dance share quite a few similarities. First, the human body is the main instrument by which feats of strength, flexibility, dexterity and control are demonstrated. Secondly, for those who move, there are amazing benefits that come from practicing and mastering the various physical skills inherent in athletics/dance – increased health, physically & mentally, and the “flow” or endorphin high that comes from pushing your body and going to your “edge” (as we like to say in yoga). For the viewer, there are benefits as well – the kinesthetic empathy that comes from watching someone push themselves, or the thrill of seeing a complex series of movements executed well. But, if athletics & dance share so much, why isn’t there more crossover in terms of appreciation of athletics & dance? Ask almost anyone on the street, and I’ll bet they’ve heard of Peyton Manning, but Mark Morris is not even a blip on their radar screen. Is it that most people have attended some kind of sporting event in their lifetime, but so few have the opportunity to go to a dance concert? What is it?
Well, let me give you the reason via one of my trusteed colleagues:
A sporting event is easy to understand – after all, there is a clear cut winner at the end, even if there is some kind of disputed call or questionable play – the final score is the end of the story. Watch the last 10 minutes of any sporting event (or 10 seconds if it’s some kind of race) – the outcome is clear.  I look forward to your reactions to this post…

Choices, choices!

It’s always a challenge to find a video clip that will provide enough material for students to use their new found language (i.e., the Elements of Dance vocabulary) while, at the same time, not overwhelm completely. Today, in showing an excerpt from Nacho Duato’s “Arenal”, the students viewed a powerful female solo (the second solo, for those of you who are familiar with the piece) – not too long (about 2 minutes), but full of possibilities – or so it seemed to me!

To those of you in the Tues/Thurs class: I wonder exactly how challenging this solo was to write about. Was it easier than writing about the Martha Graham duet from “Diversion of Angels”, or more difficult? Give me your feedback, please!

For those of you in the Mon/Wed class, I will be choosing a different solo for you to view, but it might be interesting to see the comments from the other class.