I dance because ____…

It was lovely to meet you all today! What a group! I am curious to know why you are interested in this class. What is your previous experience with dance, a movement practice, or choreography? What do you hope to learn/gain during this quarter? What are your strengths or weaknesses in terms of movement?

Please begin by filling in the blank: “I dance because ____ …”

(Enter your comment under “Leave a Reply”).

30 thoughts on “I dance because ____…

  1. I dance because I love to learn. Let me elaborate, because that hasn’t always been my answer to this question. I didn’t realize how fully I needed dance until last July, when I moved to a foreign city (Madrid). During that time, I scoured every possible corner of the Internet, every Rec center, to find dance classes, something that I knew would keep me grounded and be familiar to me. What I stumbled upon instead, was an amazing community of incredible talent: dancers, choreographers, thinkers who had sunk their teeth into methods and techniques I had never been exposed to before. I’ve danced all my life-from 2 to 22, but in all those years I’ve never run out of things to learn. I dance because it expands my horizons and pushes and inspires me to grow. I dance because I love to learn and share.

  2. I dance because I am human. Humans are bodies that move, and movement is dance. So I like to believe that we are all dancers in our own way, whether the dance looks like cooking breakfast, getting down at a club/concert/party, or tights and leos. My parents have told me stories about 3 year old alyssa putting on dance shows in the living room. As a child I was always moving and grooving, which was hard in the academic classroom, but great in the dance studio!(with the exception of ballet :P) My parents put me in dance classes when I turned 5. I have been dedicated to many forms, and features that fit into the realm of dance. I continued to put on shows for people till my preteen sass phase, and I never stopped taking dance classes. Classes at my studio taught me discipline and focus in a way that catered to my passions. Focus through dedication, dedication through passion, and discipline through practice. Focus and discipline were never my thing, but when it came to dance, I always wanted more. I still continuously crave more. I started exploring choreographic techniques when I was about 16 and have been incredibly interested in movement creation ever since. I think choreography and movement practice have equal positions in my heart. I don’t know what I would do with my hyperactivity and emotions without them. I have taken this class before, but this time I hope to refine my practice and tune into proprioception even further. I hope to pay attention to both sides of my body, in order to heal and rehabilitate. In the past, this class has transformed my relationship with my body. I am much more aware and safe, and I want to continue this mindfulness and care in order to dance for as long as I am alive. Again, I have no idea who I would be or what I would do without it. In terms of strengths and weaknesses, I feel very strong in my spatial visualization and overall kinesthetic control, but I want to improve my movement memory and micro-control so that I can deepen my improvisation and movement creation practice. And as always, I am just excited to learn.

  3. I dance because I connect with my true self when I’m moving. Like so many others, my desire to dance is a instinctual, gut feeling, that has continuously inspired me to seek out the art form. I am enraptured by the indescribable nature of dance–I feel like my morning routine of waking up and swinging my legs over the bed is a little dance I do. Ultimately, the simultaneous engagement of mind, body, and spirit continues to satisfy my soul, and so I know I’ll always be dancin’ as I move through this life. I have taken this class, and other choreography/modern classes here at UCSC, and began seriously studying in college. I am eager to continue developing this fundamental knowledge of somatic based modern technique. I also want to explore the work of past pioneers in dance, and soak in more knowledge from other artists. I feel like my strength in movement is an embodied awareness of my self–when I connect with that sense without overthinking I really feel connected and engage in movement. My weakness is fluidly engaging separate parts of my body with difficult movement–I tend to clench and neglect parts of myself when learning difficult choreography. I am so excited for this Quarter, and all of the wonderful little breakthroughs and triumphs (and the difficult moments too!) that will come along the way.

  4. Dance is one of the few acts I can absolutely count on to cultivate joy in my life. No matter what is going on in my life—socially, emotionally, mentally, physically— I can always turn to dance as a form of expression and constancy. I process my most profound emotions and thoughts through movement. I am able to listen to my body and act on its needs through movement. For me, dance is a radical act of self-preservation, self-exploration, self-cultivation. I have reached many important revelations through dance. Perhaps this is because a deeply rooted mind-body connection takes place while I dance. I access thoughts and emotions that are stored away in my body; as I move, these things surface to my mind. Conversely, if there is an idea weighing heavily on my mind, I will feel it in my body. It is through dance that I can further explore why this idea is weighing on me so heavily, and my body can speak volumes to myself and others. I see movement as a non-verbal language.. It can speak to things that words simply cannot.
    Over the course of my life, dance has evolved from a more structured practice to one of exploration and inquisition. I am constantly learning new things about my self and the world around me because of it. In this class, I look forward to developing my kinesthetic awareness and fine-tuning my detail orientation in regards to movement. I can’t wait to discover how much we have to learn from one another. Cheers to dance!

  5. I dance because it’s my way of letting go of everything that’s on my mind, and just being in the moment. One of the things I like most about dance is that it is a nonverbal way of self-expression which can oftentimes express more than words. There’s something transcendental about it. My first experience with dance was at the age of 5. My mom enrolled my sister and I in a tap/ballet class, where I was apparently always off doing my own thing because I didn’t like the structure of lessons, and I didn’t like to stay in one place for too long. After also briefly taking a musical theatre class, she enrolled us in figure skating and I was over the moon, I loved it because I got to really move. I skated until I was 16, and I still miss it.
    In terms of movement strength, I am fairly flexible. In terms of weaknesses, I don’t have a lot of core strength, and deep knee flexion is difficult for me. What I hope to gain during this class is a greater acceptance of myself, and my limitations, as well as a greater range of motion through body strength and flexibility. I would especially like to work on my knee/lower leg and upper body strength.

  6. I dance because I recently fell in love with myself as a dancer. I started like most, my mom put me in the basic toddler classes at a local community center and from there I branched out. I went on to do gymnastics, musical theater, and even sports like volley ball and track all before I would go back to dance. Adults in my life always told me that I had to dance because they claimed I looked like a dancer (whatever that means). I never understood this and subsequently fought this with all my might. I was then forced to take ballet classes at the San Jose Ballet School and while I loved moving, I hated that everyone around me was imposing this life choice on me. So I quit about after a year and moved on. Then, I joined color guard and committed my entire life to it for about 6 years. Durning my senior year however, I went through some emotional trauma which left me feeling empty. I didn’t even feel the point of dedicating so much time to color guard anymore but, I was captain of the team and couldn’t quit. I forced myself to do this activity and fell out of love with performing. So, for the entire summer after my high school graduation I didn’t move or groove and felt miserable. There was a promise I made myself though, which was that if I was accepted into any UC I would take dance classes. This is where I realized I need dance in my life. It wasn’t because people were telling me I had to but finally I wanted to. I feel joyous and healed when I dance and the only way I realized this was a lack of it in my life. I hope to become more knowledgeable about dance because I never had lessons on choreography or theory up until this school year. This fact makes me feel like a drowning fish but I am determined to stay afloat. One weakness I’ve noticed is that I have a hard time making creative and confident decisions in my dancing. A strength that I have is an openness to learn the ins and outs of many different theories and techniques.

  7. I dance simply because it’s what I love to do. I find it fascinating that bodies can move in so many different ways. We are all born to dance and there isn’t one person who hasn’t danced in some way. I started training in dance when I was 5, learning the basics in tap and ballet. As I grew older I continued learning in dance, trying different but common forms. I loved growing up in dance because I felt that I was expressing myself in a creative yet physical way. I wasn’t in dance for the people in the class, but after some time of feeling left out amongst the other girls I began to drift away from dance. In high school I stopped training, but I never stopped dancing. In college I found that here there was more of a welcoming environment, which is what I believe dance should include. My most recent experience in dance is when I was introduced to modern dance. It opened my eyes to a whole different idea of what dance is. I hope that in this course I will learn how to incorporate different methods of dancing along with how the mind works hand in hand. I also hope to overcome the fear of being uncomfortable in my choreography and performance skills. I know that I will learn lots in this class!

  8. A simple answer is that I dance because it feels good. The act of letting go and for a short period and being free from any stress of life is a liberating thing. It allows us to focus and not focus at the same time. It’s almost like a sort of meditation. I tend to push freestyle/improv movement in my rehearsals, choreography, etc. because when you are dancing without thinking with only you and the music, you tend to be vulnerable. As viewers of the dance you understand the dancer on a deeper sense and often relate to their movements in a way that predetermined sets of moves can’t do. I have been dancing since I was about 14 years old. For the first few years of my dancing it was mostly bboying and constant training to reach new heights. Back then, a goal of mine was to become a dancer that was at least renowned in my area. Towards the end of my highschool years this changed for me. Although I did begin to make small impacts in my local scene there was this moment when I was training by myself in my living room and an Ed Sheeren song played on the shuffle from my phone. Instead of changing the song to a break beat I was comfortable with, I just decided to dance to what was playing. Something very interesting happened when I did that. Instead of dancing to get new moves or win some competition, I was dancing simply because it felt good to be genuine in movement and to dance with different intentions. From then, I began incorporating a different breadth of movements to my dance and I started experimenting with choreography to try to tell stories with movement. I’m still trying to elevate my dance every day. I think that this class will help me understand my body and teach me new avenues of movement that I never explored before. My weakness would be that my technical dance training is minimal, so my pointed toes, turn outs, etc. aren’t as strong as I would want them to be. My background in dance gives me a strong relationship with the floor along with understanding of how my body is capable of moving. I also feel as though years of trying to be creative in bboying translated to being able to come up with original movement.

  9. I dance because it gives me peace. I took my first college dance course a year ago in the winter and it really changed my life. It was a contemporary dance class and I really enjoyed it. At first, I was a bit nervous because I’d never really taken part in something that forced me out of my comfort zone. I found that after taking the class, I transformed and became more self confident, which has helped me be a more outgoing individual. Dance has helped me become more comfortable in my skin and I also find movement to be very calming. This quarter I plan to step more and more out of my comfort zone as time progresses. I also want to feel confident with every physical move I make and I want my comfort and confidence to radiate (even if I may look crazy). I just want to feel good while trying new things. I no longer want to worry about how silly I might look to others and just make sure that I’m content with myself at the end of the day. I’m sure this class will even help me overcome my fears of performing. I have faith that I’ll be more focused on enjoying my time in this class and learning new ways to get in touch with myself.

  10. I dance because… the open floor reveals an entryway into a multitude of diverse realities that dance enables me to immerse myself into. Nowhere else in my life would it be acceptable for me to shift moods and personalities and back-stories like flipping through a magazine; choosing to fully encompass one sector of life for one moment, and then step into another in the next. Although it might sound the contrary, I do not see it the way others might: “today Sabrina is pretending to be a frustrated daughter;” but rather, “in this moment Sabrina is…” fill in the blank. Because Sabrina is not defined by one set of nouns and adjectives; no one could be. We are all multifaceted, hauling along behind us millions of different versions of our own faces, our own emotions, our own stories, everywhere we go. Dance allows me to attempt to explore and occupy every last part of myself.

  11. I dance because it is the time in my life when I feel the most whole. When I dance everything in the world comes together. My breath, the rest of the people on the stage, every single limb, and my soul are all connected when I step onto the stage. I dance because when I’m dancing that is all I’m doing. The worries of the world melt away as I step onto the dance floor. I dance because what else would I do when I listen to music? I dance because I love it with every fiber of my being, and without it I would be lost.

  12. I dance because it brings me freedom. Depending on who I am with, I often feel like a completely different person. This is not something I do intentionally to fit in, rather my brain just seems to alter with each individual and my comfort level with them. I wish I could flip a switch and become my true self, the person I am when I’m alone, and the person I am when I’m dancing. I have been taking dance since elementary school, but did not appreciate it as fully until high school. There I took Afro-Brazilian, and later modern. Although modern came more naturally, both types of dance, brought me a sense of clarity. When dancing, my mind is clear of matters of my life, as I feel connected to my body and the music. It is a sort of meditative state, where I am free of any expectations or worries, and free to be my true self. A weakness I possess in dance is my tendency to let small things (such as posture or arm movements) go when doing complex choreography. In terms of strengths, I am able to pick up on choreography fairly quickly, and consistently put my full effort and focus into learning. I am excited to explore imagery of anatomy, which is not something I have considered before. I hope this could alter how I perceive movements, as well as aid me in maintaining awareness of my entire body.

  13. I dance because it is one of the only activities, that when I am fully engaged in it, I don’t feel self-conscious, I feel right. I grew up in at a studio that participated in dance competition, but wasn’t competitive in nature. It fostered a welcoming community, so I have always associated dance with acceptance. Acceptance by other people and self-acceptance. And I have found this type of dance community again at UCSC. With this class, I wish to further integrate myself in this community while learning about a subject I have never specifically studied before. I feel that my strengths lie in my ability to comfortably perform different types of movement- whether they are fluid or sharp, etc. And my weakness is improvisation, I have a hard time diversifying my movements while doing improv.

  14. I dance because it is most true way I know to express myself. I dance because when I dance it feels like I become the music I listen to, I lose myself in it. I dance because I want to become healthier both in body and mind. I suffered a spinal injury when I was 16 and did not do physical therapy or recovery for a long time because I felt like I couldn’t do it. Dance has been an amazing beginning to full recovery for me. I also dance because it is a wonderful way to sincerely connect with people. My weaknesses lie is body strength, flexibility and technique. I am extremely excited to receive what this class has to offer.

  15. I decided to enroll in the course because I literally do not stop moving. A part of the reason why I dance is because the feeling of moving through space is so surreal and liberating. It’s almost like entering a trance. Although I haven’t done any technical training the majority of my life, I began taking an interest in sound and movement when I was about 14 years-old. It intrigued me how much one can have so much control of their body and basically move in whatever ways their body allows them, so I basically wanted to seek this level of control and realized there was so much more to dancing along the process. In terms of strengths, I’d feel most confident in being able to visually observe a move or a phrase and repeat, to an extent, without much effort considering my years of training. However, my greatest weakness lies in my technique. I know the importance of having technique in your pocket, so whenever a technical class is presented to me I make the most to absorb everything I can from it.

  16. I dance because it is the only way I am able to escape my head for a few hours and just be a body moving through space. I dance for those few etherial seconds when I feel like I become nothing but the music itself: formless and free. Also, I dance because I have for so many years, and I wouldn’t know how to stop now if I tried. But as I continue to get older I repeatedly ask myself if I’m going to be stuck taking classes forever. Will I one of the creepy old ladies at the dance studio? Or will I be able to eventually stop dancing? I guess I have a while till I have to figure that one out. And in the meantime I will enjoy each opportunity I have to dance.

  17. I dance because it helps me stay more mindful with the present. I love how it feels to exercise and use the space around me. I think dance is one of the only ways that help me stay in tune with my authentic self and I feels like its one of the only performing arts that I can easily express myself. When I was younger, I was really shy and did not have much self-confidence. Dance gave me the space to build my self-esteem more and to accept who I am, as a Filipino dancer who does not have a slender body. I am more athletic and graceful from the years I used to ice skate.

    I think dance and ice skating have very similar fundamentals but one of the main things they have in common is the performing aspect. I really enjoy performing and using the energy I have from the crowd to perform my best under pressure. I love the adrenaline rush and I love how it makes my soul feel more alive. I love the thrill and the self-discipline it takes to be a dancer.

  18. It’s rather fascinating that I’m having such difficulty in thinking of a simple way to end the sentence put forth to us. Considering how most of my ‘experience’ with dancing is in the setting of gay bars/night clubs, I’d easily convince myself to say that I dance because it’s PEAK! To drunkenly release movement suppressed in the body, that has gradually accumulated for god-know’s-how-long (procured with rigorous academia, theatrical obligations, and the unavoidable stress experienced by humanity collectively) became an essential therapy for me. At the same time, to soberly activate my connection to my physical body has been an experience that hasn’t left me alone since I first felt it. And for both of the reasons, among countless others yet to be explored, I pursue this opportunity.

  19. I dance because of the feeling of liberation and love. I have been dancing since I was three years old and I cannot imagine a life without the times of release, passion, and discipline. Through dance, I have made life long friends, learned to push my body and mind to its’ limits, and have built confidence in all other aspects of my life. I have learned to leave the fear of failing and to “just go for it.” Dance is also humbling. It makes me work harder to get my feet higher, to push my turns, and to not be afraid of falling on my face when learning something new. I can apply this same mentality to my academics, life decisions, as well as my relationships with other people. Along with the personal growth, the dance community has welcomed me and so many others to an environment of acceptance. I do not feel judged, I do not feel scared, and I do not feel pressured to conform to any role, unless desired.

  20. When thinking about how to answer this question, the first response that came to mind was, well because I just like to dance. Who doesn’t like to dance, technically, emotionally, or recreationally? Most like to dance. However as I thought deeply about why I really like to dance, music seemed to be the reoccurring purpose for why dance excites me so much. Of course, I love dancing regardless if there was music or not. I grew up in the gym, so the incorporation of dance in my gymnastics career has always been something that I’ve been used to and has come naturally to me. Nonetheless, music and sound has always been a great source of inspiration and motivation for my urge to voluntarily dance. When listening to a pice of music or sound, I really consider the feelings evoked from the piece and it’s purpose. Questioning what mood or atmosphere is created is exciting; is it due to the musical lyrics, tempo or rhythms? Dancing gives us a chance to explore different sounds and challenges us to express our interpretation of how our inner-self feels when creating body motions. Or at least that’s how I connect to dance the most, through my love of music and creating content to the rhythms.

  21. I dance because there is so much to learn from my body… I would suggest, in fact, that there is everything to learn. The body is our vessel for being alive. And there is so much potential to empower and enlighten ourselves if we have a connection to it, if we have a relationship with it. That connection leads us to intuition, to guidance, to joy and sadness, to awareness, to strength, to beauty, to truth. Dancing helps us open a path for that connection. It literally and figuratively helps us be moved by that connection. Dance for me is therapy. It is worship. It is adventure. It brings me a sense of peace and oneness with the rhythms of the universe. It is a celebration of being alive and being free.

  22. I dance because it makes me happy, it challenges me to be aware of the world around me, and I am passionate about moving myself and other people. I have been learning about movement and choreography for what seems like a short time, but between contact improv, capoeira, acroyoga, modern, and club dancing I feel that I’ve made great strides toward a holistic sense of dance and movement. This quarter I hope to refine practical repertoire of a few styles – jazz, modern, contact – while also conditioning a more anatomical, maybe deeper sense of movement in general. My strengths are all over the place, as well as my weaknesses; I am better at recalling choreography and actively training my body than I am at displaying an aesthetic or casually performing movements beautifully; I am strong/athletic but I want to develop my flexibility, sense of rhythm, and innate control.

  23. I dance because it’s something I genuinely love to do, and it’s been one of the first “hobbies” (although it’s much more than that) that I’ve felt a real passion for. I’ve been dancing about two and a half years, training almost exclusively in classical ballet. Aside from one intensive, I’ve never really received training in other styles of dance, leaving me with a few shortcomings in terms of being familiar with modern. Even though I worked with some amazing choreographers at this program, modern as a style remains to be a bit of a mystery to me– I think what confuses me is that despite others looking very natural in their movements, they feel very unnatural when I perform them. I think with practice it’ll come to me, hopefully with a little more grace than before. I’d also like to get more in tune with my own style of movement; as a ballet dancer I wasn’t really given the chance to do that, leaving me with a desire to choreograph but none of the skills necessary. Hopefully this course will point me in the right direction.

  24. I dance because it is so pretty and creative. I learned some traditional Chinese dance when I was at primary school, after that, I never touched dance. All I think about dance is the beautiful dancers with pretty movement on stage. The dancers are skinny but strong, they dance in a good order. They are so pretty that I thought I could never do the same thing as them. Actually, I never know I could dance until I took intro to dance in UCSC. I realize it is not impossible for me to dance. I do not have to remember all the movements because I can always create them by myself. I am so happy to learn different dance piece created by the music. I am always amazed by my instructors that they know the perfect combination of dance and music. Even though I do not have a strong dance background, I am still willing to learn, and try my best to dance!

  25. I dance because it makes me happy. I remember my doctor telling me that I should probably pick up something, “like dancing” to improve my mental health and general mood. I took up Ballet during my second year and have become fascinated in the ways my body responds to different types of movement. I have been taking as much dance as possible these past few years and I have hopelessly fallen in love with movement and collaborating with those around me. I am happier than ever before and am stoked to take this class. Modern technique is something that is often hard for me to grasp so I am excited for the challenges ahead. My first day in class was positive and I enjoyed how my body felt during warm up and in our second class, learning some choreography.

  26. I dance because it is a shared experience that I’ve built with close friends. If I am being completely honest, i learned to dance through color guard. At the beginning of that career, I despised dancing, mostly because of the ignorance in me at the beginning of my high school years. However, as my engagement and passion for the activity grew, I found that in order to make it to the big leagues, I had to improve drastically. I had not attended any type of dance classes until I went to University. From there I fell in love with dancing after I learned what i could create with it. I definitely excited to explore technique in this class. In color guard the primary form of movement most known is technique through Martha Grahm so I am excited to explore new types of techniques. I currently teach color guard and dance at Santa Cruz High School, so I am excited to explore new ways of working with the body so that I can allow my students to explore different styles of dance. A huge weakness of mine is definitely flexibility and arm length. I’ve been told many times that I must learn to consciously lengthen my arms. As a personal goal, i want to work on my turnout and my lines. I’me excited about what I can achieve in this class.

  27. I dance because It is part of who I am now. My physical energy requires the outlet of movement, and my mental energy requires the creativity and deep integration that dance allows for me. It provides me with a deep sense of joy and gratitude for being myself and being alive. I am truly fascinated while dancing and find myself in a flow state when I dance more easily than my other artistic outlets. Those are the main reasons why I dance, as well as it being the best way for me to condition and connect to my muscles. It just feels good physically and mentally to execute movements or allow myself to freely move in space. Watching dance, as well as moving my body, are a deeply treasured facet of expression and connection to thoughts and feelings. The human body is beautiful and I am driven to explore my own, taking part the art and pleasure that everyone is entitled to enjoy in this body. It really is my favorite therapy and favorite part of any day. Regardless of how I interpret what dance means to me, I know that it always adds to my life and it’s something I can truly rely on to bring myself to a better more satisfied place both mentally and physically.

  28. I dance because it makes me feel like nothing else in this world makes me feel. Because it allows me to express myself in ways words can only attempt to. I dance to both find myself and lose myself. To explore the unknown and revisit the past. I dance to understand the things I can’t figure out on my own. I feel that dancing with another person is one of the most bonding experiences you can have. I’ve become more comfortable with strangers I’ve swang with than people I’ve had several conversations with.

    This quarter I would like to gain even more comfort and awareness moving my body. I want to identify my strengths and weaknesses. I want to become more comfortable learning new choreography and build a stronger movement memory.

  29. I dance because it is a way for me to connect my body and mind in an expressive way. From an early age, I sought out any dance and movement training I had access to from tap dancing, to ballet, to gymnastics, and most recently competitive Latin ballroom. My Latin ballroom competition training has taught me how dance can be used to develop intense human connection and communication. I have further built the ability to tell gripping stories through movement. This quarter I am interested in learning more about body connectivity and how to choreograph pieces that challenge dancers to play on fundamental shapes. As a student in this course I plan to focus on increasing my understanding of my individual physicality and more ways to move efficiently. I would like to challenge myself to build technique while continuing to breathe into each movement.

  30. I dance because it is the only time my mind can be quiet of outside things. It is my stress relief and body, mind connector. I am interested in this class because I plan to apply to the Master Program for NYU and ABT in the next couple years. They require the applicant to be able to be confident in their modern dance skills, and I would like to fine tune my dance technique. I have been heavily involved in ballet for the past twenty years of my life and I have been lucky enough to become an almost full time time ballet teacher. I hope to learn to not be scared to go outside of the box of movement from ballet. I also hope to gain confidence in myself. My weakness is definitely being able to learn choreography, I had a head injury years ago and it has severely affected my ability to remember choreography.

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