“Although the absence of music is not a problem…the feeling and substance it creates is monumental. There is a power to it.”
It’s a natural occurrence for a dancer to develop a strong relationship to music. It is also, however, a bond that is not absolutely necessary. Some may think it is a vital resource to a mover, but what is special about music is the inspiration and complexity it adds to expression. Most of us view music as a dance requirement, but what is unique about the art form is that even in the absence of musical accompaniment, movement can exist and thrive. Music is everything to a dancer, yet nothing.
So let’s say that sound is food, or nourishment. And dance is your body, your life. Furthermore, view music as a treat, your favorite food, while silence is your bread and water, an absolute basic to help you survive. What is wonderful about movement, is that it can be nourished by any sound, in any environment. It does not discriminate. When someone asks you to dance and express yourself, the excuse that there’s no music really isn’t a valid argument. We are the art form. We carry our passion with us, and we can express ourselves whenever and wherever we choose.
Although the absence of music is not a problem, per se, the feeling and substance it creates is monumental. There is a power to it. It’s like comparing a single instrument to a full orchestra. It’s like adding shading and diverse colors to a painting. The beauty exists on any level, however, the strength and power that the combination presents is enough to bring a tear to the eye.
“We are the art form. We carry our passion with us, and we can express ourselves whenever and wherever we choose.”
It is amazing how music can emotionally tie a dancer to their roles and onstage experiences. Sometimes a simple introduction or a few melodic notes, can bring back a flood of memories from a performance—memories of success and/or memories of fear and dread. Notes are no longer just notes, they are mentally converted into choreography and cues. Miscellaneous classical music might not stir much feeling in those outside the dance realm, but the tunes of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky and countless other classical greats, have a lot more depth for us. Any musical material associated with classical ballet means so much more to a ballet dancer than the average ear. Although the beauty of the sound is unanimously audible, the thoughts and emotional connections of a dancer are dramatic in difference.
Despite the anxiety (and urge to count in 8s) that ballet music can instill within us, ballet scores are some of the most beautiful and complex musical compositions that exist. Although we are movers who can stand alone, the connection between notes and gestures, melodies and movements, and tempo, pitch and emotion, are what makes our art form so dynamically beautiful. A familiar melody can bring you back to a perfect performance or hauntingly remind you of how far you’ve come. Whether those feelings are positive or negative, allow sound to inspire you. Really listen. Connect with the purity or complexity of the sound around you, and really hear the music. Dance to it. Truly enjoy and take pride in the product you create through your movement.