Dance: A Means of Personality Development

Dance: A Means of Personality Development
The word ‘Dance’ denotes a movement; but, more elaborately, these movements are graceful. So, the dance in simple words can be defined as graceful movements. Yet the question remains that how to decide a movement to be ‘graceful’. This ‘grace’ is usually inborn, but it can be developed by practice. When a movement looks beautiful in the space, it can be called ‘graceful’.
Firstly, the dance begins with human body. So, it is important to know that it helps to shape up human body or physique. Especially, of a proper training is given in childhood, a person can build a proper physique and plus it affects his day-to-day movements, they become more confident and graceful.
Dance helps mainstream as well as differently abled children in many ways. In dance, all your sensory systems which are important in learning process, get activated. It increases a child’s concentration as in dance you have to be aware of many things like directions, music, movements, expression, co-ordination at a time. I helps to develop an ability of balance. When you dance, you forget about everything else and thus, it is a means of relaxation, at the same time you become more aware of your own body orientation. In any form of structural (classical) dance, you activate 90% of your vestibular cerebral stimulus (which is inactive otherwise) because it is minute to minute change in the postural awareness, balance and orientation of body in space. It gives you a different kind of confidence because the body conquers gravity and thus can do anything.
The training of dance helps the children in their academics. As their power of imagination and expression improves, they can express themselves capably in language. It helps them to improve or memorize the geometrical patterns because in dance they follow various geometrical patterns. They also improve in counting in mathematics. They become very presentable and free. Children are fast in grasping a movement, so, they can memorize many things through gestures or movements. Especially, if they are learning structural or classical form of dance, this can be done very precisely.
The kinesthetic memory is the foundation of your learning and dancing improves all your sensory systems. Since you have to follow the rhythm while dancing, it improves your auditory attention ability. When one dances, the right hemisphere will be very active musically and emotionally and thus, automatically it relaxes the dancer. For normal human beings, dance improves their visual concentration, heart and lung capacity, improves their imagination and controls emotions. They develop a good aesthetic sense.
For the differently abled children, you have to re-structure the dance. It works as a therapy for them. So, we can call it Therapeutic Choreography. If there is a problem in sensory integration, a child is hyperactive, has poor concentration and short attention span. He may have difficulty in left-right discrimination, poor orientation of his body in space and therefore, may have difficulty in learning in spite of normal and above average intelligence. In such cases, Therapeutic Choreography helps these children to a great extent. As dance needs dynamic balance, it improves body image. Through dance a child’s (who has learning difficulty) sensory system is activated and integration of all the systems is possible. All the sensory systems, vision, touch, kinesthetic vestibular have to work in rhythm while dancing. Therefore it improves sensory integration and concentration. Hyper-activity is automatically reduced and child’s performance in studies improves.
Differently abled children have poor body image, low form of the muscles, poor organization and motor planing. But, they have an extra liking for music. Therefore, dance plays an important role in improving their physical condition and learning capacity. Restructuring the dance according to the music and their capacity helps them a lot. A structural dancing gives them a sense of movement and installs in them a sense of confidence to move.

Indian Classical Dance: Retold

Indian Classical Dance: Retold
Indian classical dance, though in ancient times, was supposed to be a way of worship or the way to reach God, it is the greatest form of expression. It is interesting to know that when an Indian Classical dancer starts dancing, a prayer is recited which says, ” the whole universe be thy body, the whole literature, your speech, the moon and stars, your ornaments, I bow down to thy who is form of purity (expression). Now as this prayer is recited, it is nothing but a reminder call for an artist to pay attention to all four aspects of the performance that are, body movements, lyrics and music, ornaments and costume and the purity of expressions.
These four aspects, when learnt by an artist, are transformed into a full ‘performance’ or presentation on the stage. The body movements, for each classical dance style are different; but the goal of all is the same- decoration and accompanying the expression. Each and every part of artist’s body has its own importance in the portrayal of expression. The treatise on drama and dance (Nātyaśāstra) depicts the movements of each major and minor part of the body and it’s role in a particular expression. For example, in a pleasant expression, the body is lifted, hands and feet are more graceful, cheeks blown, lips open in smile, eye balls wide, eye brows active and so on. So that, the artist can rely on this technique while learning his first lessons of acting. Also,there is a unique way and speciality of Indian Classical Dance is Hand Gestures. These Hand Gestures are so elaborate that an artist can translate almost every word through them. (Other than art also, in normal life, it is fun to ‘talk’ or rather communicate through these dance gestures, especially for children). Though each dance style has its own technique of body movements, it serves the same purpose in all of them. The feet follow the rhythm, the hands and face follow the lyrics, translate the emotion and meaning and in the pieces which do not contain an emotion, (pure dance) it is eye-pleasing experience to see the dancer’s sheer joyful footwork and graceful body movements.
The second aspect is lyrics and music. The style, rhythm and instruments used vary from style to style. The lyrics are mostly composed about God, king or layman; in the language the style follows. Firstly, the introductory line is translated word to word through hand gestures and facial expressions. Then the lines are explained elaborately, adding other aspects of the topic and then appropriately, the story is woven in the elaboration. The line which is interpreted for the presentation of a story, is repeated as many times in a modification as the dancer performs. Generally in the compositions the dancer is supposed to be a heroine, and the hero, the God or a king in whose praise the composition is. The heroine is pinning for the union with the hero, and in this whole process her friend helps her who is supposed to be a friend, guide and philosopher.
As the dancer is supposed to be a heroine, the costume is in most of the dance styles, is of a bride. Almost all the dance styles follow the traditional shiny bride costume and rich combination of ornaments. The costumes are made of silk, satin or brocade and the ornaments of metal having pearls, stones or other beads. Though in ancient treatise on drama and dance (Nātyaśāstra), this third aspect includes the stage setting and property, in terms of dance it is concentrated on the dancer’s own costume.
The emotional expression is the most important part of all the dance styles. Most of the Indian Classical Dance styles are performed solo. The technique of body movement which is so elaborate has a role to play here. The dancer alone, while elaborating about a composition, plays all the characters. This provides a reason for a dancer to be spontaneous and change characters immediately. They have to be portrayed without changing attire and to be expressed solely through the body language. Also, there is no time to get into a deep emotion, as there is no time for one particular emotion to elaborate. That is why, the emotion with this unique feature is many a times expressed by a hand gesture and facial expression. For example, tears are shown by a sad face and hand gesture instead of actual crying.
All these aspects make Indian Classical Dance very interesting but at the same time it asks for hard work and continuity. A performer can’t perform without a proper training. The sudden changes of expressions have to be bold and yet convincing. This is only a glimpse of the art, there are many more interesting things in each Indian Classical Dance Style. It is colorful and widely diverse directed towards same purpose.

Indian Classical Dance: Retold

Indian classical dance, though in ancient times, was supposed to be a way of worship or the way to reach God, it is the greatest form of expression. It is interesting to know that when an Indian Classical dancer starts dancing, a prayer is recited which says, ” the whole universe be thy body, the whole literature, your speech, the moon and stars, your ornaments, I bow down to thy who is form of purity (expression). Now as this prayer is recited, it is nothing but a reminder call for an artist to pay attention to all four aspects of the performance that are, body movements, lyrics and music, ornaments and costume and the purity of expressions.
These four aspects, when learnt by an artist, are transformed into a full ‘performance’ or presentation on the stage. The body movements, for each classical dance style are different; but the goal of all is the same- decoration and accompanying the expression. Each and every part of artist’s body has its own importance in the portrayal of expression. The treatise on drama and dance (Nātyaśāstra) depicts the movements of each major and minor part of the body and it’s role in a particular expression. For example, in a pleasant expression, the body is lifted, hands and feet are more graceful, cheeks blown, lips open in smile, eye balls wide, eye brows active and so on. So that, the artist can rely on this technique while learning his first lessons of acting. Also,there is a unique way and speciality of Indian Classical Dance is Hand Gestures. These Hand Gestures are so elaborate that an artist can translate almost every word through them. (Other than art also, in normal life, it is fun to ‘talk’ or rather communicate through these dance gestures, especially for children). Though each dance style has its own technique of body movements, it serves the same purpose in all of them. The feet follow the rhythm, the hands and face follow the lyrics, translate the emotion and meaning and in the pieces which do not contain an emotion, (pure dance) it is eye-pleasing experience to see the dancer’s sheer joyful footwork and graceful body movements.
The second aspect is lyrics and music. The style, rhythm and instruments used vary from style to style. The lyrics are mostly composed about God, king or layman; in the language the style follows. Firstly, the introductory line is translated word to word through hand gestures and facial expressions. Then the lines are explained elaborately, adding other aspects of the topic and then appropriately, the story is woven in the elaboration. The line which is interpreted for the presentation of a story, is repeated as many times in a modification as the dancer performs. Generally in the compositions the dancer is supposed to be a heroine, and the hero, the God or a king in whose praise the composition is. The heroine is pinning for the union with the hero, and in this whole process her friend helps her who is supposed to be a friend, guide and philosopher.
As the dancer is supposed to be a heroine, the costume is in most of the dance styles, is of a bride. Almost all the dance styles follow the traditional shiny bride costume and rich combination of ornaments. The costumes are made of silk, satin or brocade and the ornaments of metal having pearls, stones or other beads. Though in ancient treatise on drama and dance (Nātyaśāstra), this third aspect includes the stage setting and property, in terms of dance it is concentrated on the dancer’s own costume.
The emotional expression is the most important part of all the dance styles. Most of the Indian Classical Dance styles are performed solo. The technique of body movement which is so elaborate has a role to play here. The dancer alone, while elaborating about a composition, plays all the characters. This provides a reason for a dancer to be spontaneous and change characters immediately. They have to be portrayed without changing attire and to be expressed solely through the body language. Also, there is no time to get into a deep emotion, as there is no time for one particular emotion to elaborate. That is why, the emotion with this unique feature is many a times expressed by a hand gesture and facial expression. For example, tears are shown by a sad face and hand gesture instead of actual crying.
All these aspects make Indian Classical Dance very interesting but at the same time it asks for hard work and continuity. A performer can’t perform without a proper training. The sudden changes of expressions have to be bold and yet convincing. This is only a glimpse of the art, there are many more interesting things in each Indian Classical Dance Style. It is colorful and widely diverse directed towards same purpose.