“Dance is the hidden language of the soul”

5:06 pm Thu, 12th August 2010

So I recently discovered that the hip-hop company I was a trainee with (during the earlier months of the year) just did a major showcase performance at a theatre in London, in which the trainees also performed. I missed out on this due to my being absent from training over the past couple months (due to work and then being away on holiday). I felt a bit disappointed at first, but after reading up on some details of their performance, it occurred to me that actually maybe I wasn’t really that fussed about missing out on this performance opportunity. I mean I really do want to perform – it’s what I’ve been working at so hard since the beginning of the year – but after reading about some details of their perfomance, like their outfits being hoodies and basketball shorts, it made me realise that perhaps their performance wasn’t really my style… and maybe this company is not for me. It is something I had been thinking about even in the first few months of joining. The nagging feeling that I didn’t really fit in there.. that it just wasn’t ME.

Dance is supposed to be something that comes from within, a reflection and expression of your person, the hidden language of your soul, the song of your body. And I think I never really felt that with them. I mean I love hip-hop and I want to learn much more of the various hip-hop styles (popping, locking, breakin, house, waacking etc) and be able to use them in my own dancing and freestyling – but the one thing that annoys me is the overriding masculinity of much of this dance form. So call me a big girl, but that’s what I am! And when I dance, I want to express myself.. as a girl. I feel so much more freedom in expressing the girly side of myself than trying to force some masculine aggression out of me because that’s what the dance is supposed to be. Don’t get me wrong, I know not all hip-hop is “gansta” and I even think there is a place for the fierceness and raw energy of hip-hop for a girl. I like incorporating aspects of that in my own dancing because there are times that I feel it too, but going the whole hog and dressing in hoodies and basketball shorts and looking and dancing identical to the boy next to me is just too much for me. I enjoy being a girl. I prefer to celebrate my femininity. Why hide it in baggy shorts and hoodie? I think baggy pants CAN be worn in a tasteful & feminine way, say if teamed with a fitted top.. but I digress *cough*. I just do NOT EVER see myself wearing baggy basketball shorts. Ever.

On the flipside, I’m also not completely on the other end of the spectrum, as one salsa dancing girl friend of mine is – refusing to do any hiphop, or any move looking like hiphop because she considers it “too masculine”. I think there is a happy medium. I think aspects of hiphop can be danced in a way that celebrates being a female (eg there’s waacking). But it’s true that one of the reasons I loooooove dancing latin forms of dance (salsa, bachata, merengue, samba, lambada, reggaeton, dancehall) is because these dances really celebrate femininity and make the most of how a female naturally moves, enhancing our natural body movement to the best of our abilities.

Hm… so what’s my point here? I guess my point is that I choose to stay true to myself. I’m not entirely sure where this is yet. I love aspects of hiphop… but at the same time, it does not fully define my personal expression of dance. I love salsa and other latin dances.. but sometimes feel restricted by the role of girls as “follower” or frustrated by having to be constantly “lady-like” to the point of it being a bit stiffling. Guess that’s probably why my favourite style of dance is reggaeton. :)

[Blog title quote from Martha Graham (1894-1991)]

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