I HEARD that men of the Mevlevi order in Turkey, while performing the sufi or whirling dervishes, achieve religious ecstasy. I wonder if the same is true when ballerinas do their arabesques and pirouettes. Maybe they do. Or they probably experience the kind of bliss many accomplished dancers do while performing their trade.
Accomplished or not, famous or otherwise, the language and spirit of the rhythmic movements of a dancer cut across the cultural spectrum and easily eases the divide between them. With no words to rely on, dance may have successfully bridged disagreements among humanity where a mouthful of words has failed to achieve.
It is unmistakable that this avenue of expression knows no boundaries. Whether it is the snappy and sharp movements of the tango and the flamenco, or the breaking, locking and popping style of hip hop, the passion, fire and love of freedom these dances express are almost instantly understood by anyone.
The universal appeal of this art form should be regarded as an indispensable bargaining chip in every society. I am, however, leaping way ahead of myself. Let me back track and recognize that everything needs to start somewhere.
When The Dance Pull Project with the participation of the Negros Cultural Foundation, Inc., and the World Dance Alliance, presented the 1st C-MAP Choreographers Festival International at the USLS coliseum in Bacolod City last August 14-15, I thought, maybe, this was an omen. And, it was a very good one. With two left feet, not only was my fantasy of dancing coming true (sort of), it signaled a broader calling for the art of dance gaining respectable roots in Negros. Surely, it did as the province was abuzz with excitement over the prospect of seeing so many dance genres. It was a smorgasbord of different body languages. And, the Negrenses can never seem to have their fill.
C-MAP (Composition and Movement Analysis Program) welcomed dancers from the US, France and Malaysia who showcased their talents and creativity in front of adoring crowds. Dance schools and choreographers from all over the country joined them in this artistic pursuit that never failed to amaze.
The show was both dazzling and inspiring. I am absolutely certain rediscovering dance have opened eyes into the possibilities of what the human body can do and how, like poems, its messages are never lost on everybody’s minds.
It is poetry with no words. It is not much different from the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh and the rhythmic rhymes of the late Maya Angelou which, with its beautiful words, lift the spirits high. The art of dance, like poetry, is expression in motion. And, to catch a glimpse of the divine while whirling, pirouetting or high kicking is additional poetic gravy to an already heavenly form of expression.