Of Dancing

A rewrite of an essay entitled Of Studies by Francis Bacon:

The purpose for dancing is for creating art, practicing discipline, and for improving one’s health. Dance is an artform in its creative choreography and symbolism; for discipline, in its repetitive routine; and for improving one’s physical and mental health, is in the demanding movement and required stamina. It is true that anyone can dance, yet a true dance lies in its best form when it is practiced by athletic artists who not only execute the movements but attach a true meaning to it. To spend too much time on just the steps is pointless; to practice too diligently strips away its liberal nature; and to simply do it for its fitness robs it of its artistic purpose. These men can learn, and be perfected by practice: for innate skills must still be cultured and trained by multitudes of dancing; and dance itself will begin to mold the subject if they allow themselves to be molded. Many disregard the artform, yet the humble man or woman may use the dance; for they see themselves in it, and let go of their outer worries to delve themselves in the music and the movement. Yet, dance not to escape your worries; nor just for an exercise; but instead to mend your soul as the steps of the dance turn into the steps of connecting your heart and mind. Some dances are to be like paintings on a wall, others similar to holding the paintbrush in your hand, and a few like pouring the paint on the floor and rolling around in it; that is, a few dances are to be simply watched; others learned; and some to be stripped apart until all that is left is the backbone of raw emotion and the music. Learning the choreography makes for an intelligent man; listening to the music an attentive man; and performing the art itself a cultured, enlightened man. And thus, if one were to perform little, he need not regard any deeper artistic meaning; if he listens little, he need not seek the liberality and beauty of music: and if he learns little, he need not knowledge to make sense of what is around him and what it takes to be an artist. The many styles of dance challenge the inner artist: contemporary makes one grounded, ballet makes one balanced (metaphorically and literally), improvisation makes one courageous, tap makes one rhythmic, hip hop makes one simply have fun, and all the styles in between helps one continue to grow as an artist. Nay, to a depressed and lonely heart, many remedies follow suit. Yet dance has proved to be a prevalent part of culture since the dawn of time, and for that reason let it be medicine to the weak. So if a man’s courage be wavering, let them improv to the point of embarrassment; for alone on the dancefloor, they must face their emotions as they try to turn it into something pleasing not only to the eye, but to the heart. If they feel distanced from themselves and their desires, let them dance sporadically to their favorite song; for in it they will find themselves again. So, naturally, every defect may find its cure in the dance, as the movement and the music inspires the heart.

 

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