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All kinds of feedback is welcome. CONTACT: augustkunnapu@gmail.com

Eestikeelsed artiklid



Vilen Künnapu

Udo Kultermann

Eve Apro, Aharona Israel

Harry Pye

Juhan Ulfsak

Harry Charrington

Reet Ragini Aus

Maxime Stoecker




what is dance?

Dialogue is held with Rain Saukas
comments – anonymous people from cyberspace

I started with my research from the beginning, finding out what ancient writings have to say about dance: in Hindu scriptures it is told that the whole Universe is being brought into existence as the manifestation of the dance of the Supreme Dancer. Every god has his or her own style, we can read about 23 celestial beings who dance to please the gods and express the supreme truths in the magic of movement. The dance in the Hinduism used to be a part of a sacred temple ritual, the female priestesses worshiped different aspects of the Divine through the elaborate language of mime and gestures.

I am thinking of the need to move, to express oneself through movement, as a primary human need that many of us are strongly connected to. Of course there is African ritual trance dance as the beginning of theater - use of masks etc. Its relation to the very basic human rituals and needs: comparison of African dance to African architecture, its relation to the ground/to mother earth and fertility as well as to ritual ceremonies in comparing to ballet and Gothic church architecture, rising up to the sky and the suppression of the body, the cross as a symbol etc.
It is interesting to look at trance music nowadays and trance parties as a development of the ancient dance, many of ancient cultures relate to dance as an extasy or a trance which is a mental state as a result of a physical movement...

Dance!!! It starts as a conscious process when you get to know the knots of expressing your thoughts using your body and gestures. Once you’re through with that you start expressing your emotional outbursts semi-consciously. And soon dance loses its physical attributes.. becomes a projection for your inner self....emotions at play... In a classical Greek song, Apollo, one of the twelve greater gods, the son of Zeus the chief god, and the god of medicine, music, and poetry, was called The Dancer. In a Greek line Zeus himself is represented as dancing. In Sparta, a province of ancient Greece, the law compelled parents to exercise their children in dancing from the age of five years. They were led by grown men, and sang hymns and songs as they danced. In very early times a Greek chorus, consisting of the whole population of the city, would meet in the market-place to offer up thanksgivings to the god of the country. Their jubilees were always attended with hymn-singing and dancing.
The Jewish records make frequent mention of dancing as a religious ceremony, or as an expression of gratitude and praise. Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with the tambourine and harp (Psalm 149:3), Praise him with the timbrel and dance, praise him with the stringed instruments and flutes (Psalm 150:4). As a means of entertainment in private society, dancing was practiced in ancient times, but by professional dancers, and not by the company themselves. The Bible sanctions dancing as a religious rite, to be practiced on joyful occasions, at national feasts, and after great victories, and “performed by maidens in the daytime, in open air, in highways, fields, or groves”; however, there are no instances of dancing sanctioned in the Bible, in which both sexes united in it, either as an act of worship or as an amusement, and any who perverted the dance from a sacred use to purposes of amusement were called infamous. The only records in the Bible of dancing as a social amusement were those of the ungodly families described, who spent their time in luxury and gayety, and who came to a sudden destruction; and the dancing of Herodias.The ancient dance was very different from that common among Western nations. It was usually the part of the women only: Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the woman followed her, with the tambourines and dancing (Exodus 15:20). Hence the peculiarity of David’s conduct in dancing before the ark of the Lord: David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals (2 Sam. 6:14). David led the choir “uncovered”, i.e., wearing only the ephod or linen tunic. He thought only of the honor of God, and forgot himself. From being reserved for occasions of religious worship and festivity, it came gradually to be practiced in common life on occasions of rejoicing. When asking from people in internet cyberspace what is dance, it leads to this kind of words:
reflection, freedom, therapy, expression, theme, sensuality, love, self-conciousness, flow, VALOR, nirvana, happiness, fun, HEAVEN, beauty, high, SOUL, “JOY” - pure and simple, enjoyment, RHYTHM, life, me, INTOXICATION, LIBERTY, feel, inner, INNOVATION, dirty, ecstasy, PASSION, dreams, EXHILARATION, BREATHING, mesmerizing, intoxicating, VITALITY, magic, (to) fly, freedom, passion, exhist (to dance: to fully, unstoppable, undilutedly, passionately EXHIST), all my senses are awake at 1ce and it only happens on dance floor, ENERGY, like something waiting to explode?! it combines everything...expression, freedom, sensuality...the list is endless..., liberation, speed, communication, the word I can dance on is alalalalallalalalalalalallalalalala.....EXUBERANCE!!! EUPHORIA ! dance is my LIFE!!!!!! oblivion, OXYGEN”......CUZ I NEED TO BREATHE TO LIVE! ZION and HARMONY, love ...is the energy behind which all is created!!!! religion, EXORCISM, unconciusness, enjoy, spark, FANTASY, DE-Stressing, abandonment, time waste, smile..., UPLIFTING and LIBERATING, insignificance, SENSIBILITY, dance is a mirror...where ur feelings are reflected, self edification, heartaches, emotion, ADRENALIN, MYSELF, movement! its life!!!!!!! it is as ur soul releasing itself, PLEASURE/FUN.

Wikipedia has tried to capture in words what is dance by saying: Dance generally refers to human movement either used as a form of expression or presented in a social, spiritual or performance setting. It is an artistic form of nonverbal communication, move in a graceful and rhythmical way, a party of people assembled for dancing, taking a series of rhythmical steps (and movements) in time to music, move in a pattern, usually to musical accompaniment; do or perform a dance; a party for social dancing; skip, leap, or move up and down or sideways.

The encyclopedia also gives an example of a dance game called dance mixer: it is a kind of participation game for dancers that have some skills in social dancing. During a song or several songs of a dance or dances well-known to participants (Waltz, Foxtrot, West Coast Swing, etc.), at certain moments pairs exchange partners in a random way. The rules often vary. Some examples include: a couple dances straight across the dance hall until they reach the opposite end. They separate, men and ladies each walking along opposite walls to the start end of the hall where they meet their next partners. The randomness in partner matching arises from the different speed of travel and often different numbers of men and ladies.

eev: what is dance?
.rain: technically or in cognitive sense?
.rain: anyway dance should be an expression of a body
.rain: body’s music
eev: in every sense
.rain: a planned movement of a body
.rain: dance can be aesthetical but doesn’t have to be that
eev: it is not always planned
eev: impro
eev: disco is also a dance
.rain: but even impro is controlled
eev: walking on the streets also
.rain: you can not improvise if you have no idea what you are – in that case it is just
tearing around
.rain: walking is also planned action
eev: eve is in a d’n’b party and is dancing, when the party turns out to be specially good, eve loses herself and is not aware of what she’s doing
eev: it is not less dance
.rain: falling down and twitching in cramps?
.rain: how are you standing up if you’re not aware of what are you doing?
eev: but walking is not a dance
eev: and having less control is not making it less dance
eev: all of these ritual dances – when guys are not accounting for what they’re doing at all = in trance
.rain: why walking is not?
eev: is?
eev: all movement is dance?
eev: depending on the context
.rain: if you look at it like that then why not
.rain: solar system is a big dance
.rain: ..around a kettle
eev: this is conceptualism in the western cultural space
.rain: what?
eev: tiina was quite hirsute because of the performances in kanuti theatre
eev: all kind of stuff is presented as dance performance there
.rain: and where nothing moved
.rain: point is, that when something is staged it should be interesting in the sense
of movement
.rain: then it is rather a performance art
eev: tai chi is moving only inside of a body
.rain: in that case you could say that theatre is also dance
eev: it depends how to look at it
.rain: and tai-chi is not going to be staged
eev: and to know how to look at it
eev: and it is staged
.rain: have not seen
eev: but there’s dance outside of a stage
eev: mostly
eev: parties
eev: writing with a body
.rain: I would not bother to go to see a performance,
where you can see kind of partying people
.rain: this doesn’t mean that I’m not doing it in a club
.rain: what do you want to say when being in a trance?
.rain: does dance has a message?
eev: doesn’t have to be
.rain: do not believe. It might have, but I do not believe that
this is the meaning from the beginning
eev: dance is not only a performance
eev: you want to say something and dance is saying without using words
eev: it is also valid for parties
eev: i am this kind of male/female and I am ready to become a couple
eev: lots of times
eev: :D
.rain: it might be in parties but why am I dancing alone at home?
.rain: what are you investigating?
eev: I want to know ‘what is dance’

Mõned filmid:

  1. West Side Story, directed by Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise, 1961
  2. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, directed by Jim Sharman, 1975
    “It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right, put your hands on your knees, and....”
    It’s a cult movie where the audience is participating during the film projection and doing all kind of movements in front of the screen... mentioned dance was one of the top moments of the film in relation to the participation of the audience.
  3. Saturday Night Fever, directed by John Badham, 1977
  4. Grease, directed by Randal Kleiser, 1978
  5. Flash dance, directed by Adrian Lyne, 1983
  6. Dirty dancing, directed by Emile Ardolino, 1987
  7. Shall we dance?, directed by Masayuki Suo, 1996
  8. The Tango Lesson, directed by Sally Potter, 1997
  9. Billy Elliot, directed by Stephen Daldry, 2000
  10. Dancer in the dark, directed by Lars von Trier, 2000
  1. A time to kill and a time to heal;
  2. A time to tear down and a time to build up.
  3. A time to weep and a time to laugh;
  4. A time to mourn and a time to DANCE.
  5. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
  6. A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
    Ecclesiastes 3:3-5

Eve Arpo

Eve Arpo studies architectural design at Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and practices dance at Dansstudio Cascade and Amsterdam DanceCentre. In July-August 2005 she was working in Bangok in an architectural magazine “art4d”. See also her stories about Amsterdam and Paide in Epifanio no 1/2005 and www.evearpo.com

Eve Arpo

Aharona Israel

is an architect, a dancer and a choreographer. She graduated architectural studies in Israel. She studied theatre and dance in Israel and Netherlands. Israel is currently living in Holland. Recent works: “The Pre-history of Daily Life” (a performance about time in collaboration with Eve Apro), Amsterdam; “In Between” (dance in collaboration with Sonja Pregrad) and “To be Sang”, Amsterdam and Germany.


Rain Saukas

studied graphic design at the Estonian Academy of Arts and practices modern dance in Fine 5 dance school in Tallinn.