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To the Pointe: Celebrate Dance
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To the Pointe: Celebrate and Appreciate

Dance surrounds us everyday.  If you were to count the times a dance reference passes by, you would be amazed as to how pervasive it is in our lives.  Of course, popular entertainment is a major contributing factor to this pervasiveness.  There are TV series where dancing (or not) often is an integral part of a plot, and dancing moments are used to highlight situations such as in Ally McBeal or Drew Carey.  Dance is present in reality shows or game shows such as American Idol where, for example, it was an issue if Clay Aiken learned to dance with his performances—all this not counting the song and dance commercials.   Movies stylistically include the musical, which is enjoying a recent revival, starting with Moulin Rouge and Chicago, where actors and actresses surprise us with their “triple threat” power of acting, singing and dancing.  But many “non musical” movies include dance scenes as plot turners, character development, or intensity relief, as the power of dance does turn situations around.  Even in the silent context of newspaper cartoons we find dance as expression of mood, when Snoopy and Woodstock dance celebrating the seasons or a Jules Fieffer character dances a news story.

It may seem frivolous and inconsequential when described in its popular manifestations, but in reality dance is so much a part of the ingrained character of being human, that it is represented in prehistoric cave paintings, is an integral part of the historical pageantry of religion, and is an established part of political celebration, in events ranging from Louis XVI’s court to the Inaugural Ball, for example.

Raising your own awareness of this art form all around us, allows you to appreciate and value it even more.  If you have added dance lessons to the enrichment program for your child a key ingredient is your ability to appreciate the art and technique that they are intensely dedicating themselves to.  As a parent, our baseline of love for our child will make us like whatever they do however they do it. But above that, and to really bond and relate, appreciating and valuing their cherished activity will contribute to their sense of accomplishment and self-worth.  With dance you can participate and bond with your child by sharing the awareness of the dance around us, by going to other performances besides their own recital, by establishing a value foundation on art appreciation.

In South Florida we have the privilege of having major cultural centers in each of the counties, with dance events constantly being played there.  In addition, lesser venues include year round programming near every town and city in the area, with enjoyable events that will enhance your child’s appreciation of dance and theatre.  With the upcoming season of performances, make sure you select and go to at least one or two performances.  The ballet schools of the area always have wonderful shows and performances at this time of year, and going to see any of the professional companies, both local and visiting will raise the sense of celebration of the outing.  Musical theatre is also a very rewarding experience to share with your children, and age appropriate shows are often played locally. Celebrate, appreciate and bond—go to a show!

Carlos Rangel has been involved in the arts for the last 10 years and recently opened Attitude Dancewear & Art in Coral Springs, a dancewear store catering to all sorts of community interests related to dance.  He has a network of dance information and is involved in supporting community outreach dance programs.