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Social Dance*

28 Dec

*Chapter 4 of Dancing: The Pleasure, Power, and Art of Movement by Gerald Jonas

Social dancing socializes.

Social Dance

I definitely agree with this statement because I believe that dancing not only entertains people, but it also brings them closer to each other. The author said that we only become aware of how much our social dances reflect the values of our society when we come into contact with a society whose dances differ greatly from our own— that is why during global conventions, participants perform dances that will show the audience a glimpse of what their culture is about. As I mentioned from my previous entries, dancing is the universal mode of communication when it comes to culture, traditions and values.

Around the world, people dance during social occasions. This shows the importance of dancing to the society. These dances celebrate rites of passage, whether they are tied to a particular place or time or people just seeking out companionship during social events.

I was very interested in learning that in some cultures, dancing is a way to teach young people how men and women behave in their society. It shows practice in gender-specific roles and attitudes in a society. Dancing can also pass along social skills and practices, acceptable by the public. And all of these are done in the name of pleasure.

Another factor that intrigued me is how dancing was connected to sexuality. Since we all know that Christianity is a strict religion, their perception of hip gyrations and flapping knees are ways of attracting coercion between men and women. But they weren’t able to comprehend well that in cultures like in Cook Island in Rarotonga, even if they display movements such as these, men and women never touch each other. This shows how the dancers are able to fit their bodies together in matching curves without actually touching. That is one skill that is very special because it elicits control, power and focus from the dancers.

Dancing also gives women the power to control in the society. In Islam cultures, they celebrate the sexual nature of men and women. The essence of women being a dangerous being to social order describes the power of the feminine body. Men are vulnerable to female charms and lose control over their bodily urges. This idea makes women a strong persona in the society’s perception of sexuality. Women has the power to make the men weak, even if they deny it.

This chapter also talked about couple dancing. Since in some Western culture there are dances that require couples performing, the essence of being a leader and follower was always an issue. The one unbreakable rule of couple dancing is that the partners must move in sync or as a unit. Even if there are societies that say men are superior than women, when it comes to dancing, women can also take charge. They need to communicate with one another in order to not disturb other couples and distract the whole performance (in the case of waltz). The very structure of couple dancing is continuous communication and being aware of each other’s movements.

But since we are now living in a society where every  person practices independence…the social issue of the time, If no one leads, no one has to follow, applies. We are given a third option, which is to do what we want. And many are doing this just because they want to express their freedom from social strata and enjoy the pleasure that dancing is giving them.