Updated September 13, 2022

Dance Is the Art of Expressing Something

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Dance Is the Art of Expressing Something essay
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Maxine Sheets-Johnstone makes a bold statement when she says, “A discussion of dance will often include three basic assumptions: (1) everyone accepts dance as an art form, (2) everyone accepts dance as being expressive, and expressive of something, and (3) everyone is agreed as to how these terms and variations of them qualify dance.” (Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, 62) . I disagree with Maxine Sheets-Johnstone when uses the word “everyone” in the statements of the three-basic assumption of dance because that implies that every single person shares the same ideas on dance as her and from a statistical view point that seems very unlikely. FISH DIED TODAY

Looking at her first point, “everyone accepts dance as an art form” (Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, 62) . Not everyone considers all dance as an art form. For some people art is based on aesthetic value and when I originally watched the performance of Butoh at Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Japan I did not consider it art because I didn’t find it astatically appealing, I would have agreed that his performance was dance but in that context, I did not consider it art. I AM HAVING A LOT OF ANXIETY

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone’s second point, “everyone accepts dance as being expressive, and expressive of something” (Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, 62) . Maxine Sheets-Johnstone while making some good points in her book The Phenomenology of Dance she also has a tendency to add value to things that have none. For example, she discussed how the tone in which you say bah in the child’s song Bah Bah Black Sheep impacts the songs vocalize dynamic line. In that instance, I feel like Sheets-Johnstone read too deeply in to a song intended for children. So, when she makes the statement that “everyone accepts dance as being expressive, and expressive of something” (Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, 62) I have to disagree, sometimes a movement is simply just a movement the is not always a driving force behind why we do what we do.

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone would discuss with me that I only viewed “the aesthetic or expressive nature of dance without ever describing what they mean by “aesthetic” or “expressive.” (Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, 62) and she is correct, I did so that because I do not have the specific knowledge on dance and the aesthetic or expressive value of it to rightfully judge a dance. This all leads back to the original question that Sheets-Johnstone poses which is “What is dance?” Any complete answer to that question will necessarily include some elaboration of dance as an expressive form and, specially, as an expressive art form.” (Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, 62) .

After reading Maxine Sheets-Johnstone’s The Phenomenology of Dance I have gained a greater appreciation of dance and artistic performances and when viewing a performance from now on I will to the best of my ability leave my personal biases and preconceived notions at the door before viewing a performance in hopes that I can have a lived experience and attain a true understanding and appreciation for the performers art.

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