Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body

"Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body" (Graham). Dance has influenced my life in different aspects; it allows me to show how influential my lucid imagination truly is and demonstrate how effective it can be. This feeling can be compared to how writers feel when they express their imagination on paper. When most people think of the word 'literacy', they often connect it to every English class they have ever taken in their life. It is not often that you see the words 'dance' and 'literacy' together, but like any regular English class, dance contains a wide vocabulary, as well as special techniques.

Growing up, I would go to many parties with my family, whether it be quinceaneras, holiday parties, birthdays, or simply another party with friends. At every event there was always people dancing cumbias, norteñas, and banda with their partners. I would often go out there and jump up and down with my arms in the air, what a five year old would consider "dancing." On the dance floor, I have noticed that movement "is an act of ... communication," similar to Murray, the author of Write before writing. Although there were no words spoken between everyone, the dancing spoke for itself. That is what makes this form of art so amazing; the movements can be interpreted in so many different ways which could be varied set by the different tones and moods. Many times when we are reading or writing it is important to seek these literary elements to help the reader understand the author's style of writing.

My parents noticed my growing passion for dance at a young age. I would always perform at home, while standing on the couch, dancing and singing to whatever was playing on the radio. At the age of seven, after much begging, they signed me up for my first class at Dance Gallery 2, where my career in dance began and a path to my personal literacy. My first class was a jazz class, which would later turn into my favorite style, and as I continued the class, I saw the beauty in every movement that Jazz required. Similar to how us, as writers, we put together words to create a sentence, which will eventually turn into multiple paragraphs leaving us with a shitty first draft; my instructors used small moves to create 8-counts which turned into pieces of choreography, which then evolve into parts of a show.

Having danced for seven years in that studio, it was not until my fifth year, when I became a student teacher, that I was truly literate in dance. The last week of June was always Dance show week, all my hard work and several months of learning and improving on my techniques were going to be shown off. But before we could do that was rehearsal, like Anne Lamott from Shitty first drafts said it was "where you check every tooth, to see if it's loose or cramped or decayed...". I made sure students knew the moves, walked on stage on time, knew their formations, and had their full costumes, all of this is a part of Dance literacy.

Performing on stage was my favorite part of the whole experience, I was confident in myself, always eager to show the audience and receive that long awaited applause. Little did they know, all those late nights trying perfecting that double pirouette, all the sweat and stress of running backstage making sure everything was perfect for them. They would never understand all of the work put into the show because they only saw the final product. Writing essays isn't something as confident in, but I think of it as another performance. Instead i stay up trying to perfect that first sentence, going back and forth to edit making it the best that i can in hopes of receiving that passing grade.

Every individual has grown up learning different literacies, but we often do not realize it. So when your teacher gives you an assignment to write a minimum of four pages on an essay about Literacy Narrative, it can be nerve racking. However, the positive side of this is that you do this process on the daily without even thinking whether it be in dance, sports, or digital. They all have similar components that can help guide us to tackle these assignments.

Going through the Dance Gallery program, I met many influential people, who introduced me to the world of dance literacy including my teachers, and many other dancers. Reflecting on my life, I do not know what shape I would be in without the art of dance. Being able to teach younger dancers, even older dancers, my knowledge of this area has‌ opened my eyes to an other side to dancing. On my journey to becoming the best dancer I can be, becoming literate in dance has helped me become literate in several different areas. It is extraordinary to see what we as people can learn by doing the things we love.


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