The video “The Power of Dance” was a film which explored various forms of dance around the world and how each one related to its respective culture. The video used a multitude of different styles of dance in different geographical locations to pinpoint how dance is a universal language, and the body is used to convey a variety of ideas and emotions. The primary theme behind the film was that dance is a global phenomenon. Dance crosses race, color, culture, social, economic, and class lines.
Dance is found in a whole host of situations, including, but certainly not limited to, religion, theatre, social settings, and film. Dance is used to tell stories, express emotion, and as a form of religious ceremony, expressing praise, gratitude, sorrow, and offered as a gift. It is in this sense that dance is a form of “communication without boundaries. ” Life itself is a form dance. Jacques D’Ambrose, of the New York City Ballet theatre, likens the heartbeat to a dance. The heartbeat, he says in the first rhythm of dance, with its primary tempo a basic upbeat.
It is this upbeat that sustains us all. Child dancer Ryan McCormick makes this point especially clear. As part of a New York children’s dance troupe, he applauds the merits of dance as being a tool to integrate children of different racial and economic backgrounds, by teaching teamwork and cooperation. Dancing is some of the children’s only way to express themselves and release daily stressors, a therapeutic part of dance, according to dancer and choreographer Gregg Burns. America is a melting pot, using dance from all over the world, including Russia, where the origins of ballet can be found.
Russian dancer Bolshoi sees dance as an expression of aristocratic behavior, exuding effortless strength and grace. Ballet, in this light, is “? unearthly; (the) art of the air. ” Irek Makhamedov describes dance, ballet in particular, as an international language in which the physical and emotional are inseparable. Other cultures explored in the video include the dances of India, including one in which a single woman portrays both a man and a woman in a love story of both earthly and spiritual proportions; the dance itself being a metaphor for the love between man and God.
Northern India has its own form of dance, Bhangra, a dance originated by farmers and performed by men. According to Vijay Neekay, this is a celebration dance. A final form of dance surveyed in the film was dancing in film and video. This form of dance is amazing in that it combines all forms of dance and movement through the magic of editing to create a single form of exciting and, sometimes, physically impossible dance. It draws together, and in a single moment, separates all different forms of dance in a beautiful art for life to imitate.