The Art of Storytelling and Communication Through Dance

By: Cheryl

By: Ashley Tulio, Communications Specialist

International Dance Day

Today we celebrate international dance day! International Theatre Institute’s dance committee launched international dance day in 1982 to promote all the talented dances worldwide! This date was chosen as it is the birthday of the creator of modern ballet Jean-Georges Noverre. The purpose of the day is to raise global awareness about the beautiful forms of dancing and how it enables us to portray various cultures and stories.

Dance Is a Universal Language

What is dance? Dance is the rhythmic movement of one’s body, usually to music. Dance is an art form that expresses ideas, and emotions, and even helps release energy..  The thing that I personally love most about dancing is how it helps the performer tell a story. One can feel the dancer’s emotions through their body language, and each and every dancer brings their unique style leaving us wanting for more. . There are numerous different styles of dance, incorporating stories and culture.  What I enjoy most about dancing is how unique each individual is. It allows each individual personality to shine through even when the choreography is the same.If you’re dancing the same choreography, there is always personality that is shown. Dance demonstrates how narratives and dialogues can be shared without any spoken word, and how the form of expression can contribute to the conversations.

Storytelling and Communication

Dance is more than a form of entertainment; it is  a way to communicate and express oneself and their journey. Dancing allows the soul to speak through the movements of one’s body. Since the end of time, dance has been playing a crucial role in social events  within cultures, as it can be performed during celebrations, courtship, and even rituals.

A great example of how dance was used in order to communicate is Hula. Within Hawaiian culture, they did not have a version of written language until the early nineteenth century. Thus, Hula dance is how the Hawaiian people kept their stories alive. Hula chants preserved various traditions religiously of the gods and kings. Specific hand gestures would enact a story alongside the form of a chant. There are three categories of gestures,

  • Symbolization of an object,
  • Movement to present action, and
  • Illustrate concepts of emotions.

Hula dances embrace Hawaiiwans history and legend through their dance narrative.

Body language plays an important aspect of communication. Facial expressions, body movements, gestures, and eye contact are examples of nonverbal communications that are used in dance. Dance, at its core, is a form of communication through physical movement. Overall, language has been a barrier when communicating with each other, however people from different parts of the world, for decades, have been using dance to tell stories and pass it down to generations. Dance breaks down language barriers and opens newdoor for communication with various cultures. Dance, both in the past and in the present truly encapsulated social unification!