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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
(Summer-Fall, 1976)

Jacobs, Ellen W.
The dancer: [why everybody suddenly loves dance],   pp. 266-[271] PDF (6.2 MB)


Page [268]


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


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