Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is to Dance

My company at a show, last December
Most of you probably don’t know this, but I dance, albeit very badly. I actually take Belly Dancing classes, and this semester I’m taking Belly Dancing and Ballet.One of the most basic ballet steps is called the Plie. 

Now I consider myself to be the least graceful person alive. I’m not coordinated. I’ve been hit by five cars. I fall down for no reason. I have no center of gravity, or if I do, its’ changing all the time. I’ve been told its cause I have wonky ears, and while I think I have perfectly ordinary ears I like the term wonky. 
The thing is, the plie is actually a centering move. Apparently it helps you find your center of gravity or something like that, according to my very philosophical dance teacher (picture a yogi of ballet), and maybe, just maybe ballet might be helping me find a center of gravity.

You might think, that two different forms of dance that originated in very different parts of the world would be very different from one another. But even though they are very differnt, alot of the moves are the same. Belly Dance doesn’t have something thats quite the same as the Plie but they do have several other centering movements that are similar, and then  they have some moves that are almost exactly the same.  

Take for instance the grape vine. If you’ve ever taken a dance class, you’ve probably been forced to learn the grapevine (think electric slide). Its a basic step in Israeli folk dance, American folk dance, (probably all folk dance really) Belly Dance, and it’s used in Ballet too. 

I don’t think this should come as too much of a surprise since dancing is just walking in a funny order, and there is only so many different ways you can walk. 

What might be surprising is that dance is pretty central to every culture out there. It’s a universal non verbal communication. And I always love it when I’m reading something and they talk about dance, not as a central theme, but as something that happens when a large group of people get together. It makes a fictional world feel more real to me.  

For all you writers out there, do you include dance in your worlds? Would you?

Readers, do you notice when authors include dance? 


  1. I included dancing in my writing once and found it very difficult. There are the techinal terms dancers use and then the "reader" version (as I like to call it), making the scene hard. However, once you nail it, if you nail it--lol, then it's wonderful. ;-)


  2. I love when people include dance in their novels! I do, and it's great in the center of distress because it gives the reader that nice little the calm before the storm thing. lol.

  3. I really like to dance too. The only thing is that I freeze up whenever I'm forced to dance in public.

  4. I have used dancing in an earlier MS, but not recently. Hmmm... I think I need to incorporate some dance in my current WIP! :D
    Great post!

  5. I am not a dancer in any regard and would never consider putting it in my work. It would be like me trying to write about aerodynamics -- I know nothing. That being said, when I come across a passage about dance, it means nothing to me, either. But I love to watch people dance. If the movements are described enough for me to picture it, that might be nice.

  6. As a humor writer, you better believe I use dance, though usually not a flattering variety. I think it's a great way to express lighthearted humor while growing with the character.

    Also, in real life, I can dance pretty well. I love doing the Carlton just to piss my wife off. It works well.

  7. I'm a folkdancer, have been for years, so I just loved this post. And yes, the grapevine is a basic step is almost all folk dances from around the world. We do Hungarian, Romanian, Israeli, Russian, Serbian, etc. I've never done belly dancing, however, and would love to.
    Nice to "meet" you.

  8. i enjoyed reading a few of your backpost...lovely writing style. i also think that it's that you dance! :D

  9. Good for you! I'm a bad singer, but I do it anyhow. (Now we could hold a least coordinated contest...I am notorious for tripping up steps...though I've never been hit by a car, so you have me there)