11/02/2017 Peter Durantine

Dance Teaches Us About Ourselves and Our Capabilities

At the Nov. 2 Common Hour, the Thursday community discussion held each week classes are in session, Associate Professor of Dance Pamela Vail said the art form of movement is a form of knowledge. 

“The body has wisdom, the body has intelligence,” the practicing choreographer said. “The whole body processes, experiences and expresses knowledge, from political to abstract; social to sensual. It is more than just a vehicle that carries us through the world.” 

Vail was accompanied by Assistant Professor of Dance Jennifer Conley, a former member of the Martha Graham Dance Company, who introduced dance selections created by the likes of Graham and Isadore Duncan and performed by a group of Franklin & Marshall students.

Please view a gallery of their performances:

  • Vail discusses the concept of “Body and Mind Centering,” that she described as an in-depth approach to integrating mind and body based in anatomy and physiology. She quotes the concept’s founder, therapist Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, “‘Our body moves as our mind moves.’” Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • “Dance can be entertainment, yes, but it goes much further as a way of deeply knowing the world and interacting and engaging with it,” Vail says. “This is what we teach.” Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • “Moving helps us better see the world,” says Vail. “Dance teaches whole body thinking.” Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • “Dance teaches us about ourselves and our assumptions about our capabilities,” she says. “As we increase our self-knowledge, we develop our understanding of others, and the world at large.” Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • “Ironically, I’ve heard too many time this idea that when we dance, ‘We just need to turn off our mind.’” Vail says. “No, we don’t turn off our minds. I would argue that what’s happening is we’re using our minds in a different way, a different way than we use it in everyday life.” Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Conley, supine, joins the students in one of the dance selections. Image Credit: Deb Grove
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