Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
Jacobs, Ellen W.
The dancer: [why everybody suddenly loves dance], pp. 266- PDF (6.2 MB)
sympathetic muscular response to the dancers' leaps, jumps, prowlings-that we can appreciate the art. A mind and spirit estranged from its body cannot see dance. Since movement is not only an expression of life, but actually the definition of it-does not the movement of the heart distinguish life from death?-it would seem unnatural not to respond to an art based on what is most natural to us. If we have not loved dance all along, it is because our natural impulses have been inhibited. Things are changing. Americans are rediscov- ering their bodies. Think of the numbers of people now flocking to exercise classes, yoga, ballet and modern dance classes. The grow- ing obsession to have beautiful and agile bodies is obvious in the numbers of people that have taken to jogging, playing tennis, joining Y's, health clubs and swim clubs. Our growing acceptance of sexuality is also apparent in the growing informality of fashion. Women's bodies are no longer girdled beneath layers of elastic and plastic bones; men's necks are no longer choked by tight ties or starched collars. Swim suits have been reduced to a series of occasional band-aids. The look is au naturale. Once upon a time, but not very long ago, ballet was considered as feminine an activity as a tea party. Audience figures now show an equal number of men as women seated at performances. Gay Liberation and the Women's Movement have had at least an oblique influence in encouraging this new male interest in dance by helping to change some of the social attitudes that had once prejudiced men against the art. By trying to eradicate the lines dividing male and female roles or defining sensibility by