Dancing and Writing (not simultaneously)

For a while I’ve been pondering what type of art I wanted to discuss on here and, while architecture is something I’m contemplating in the future, dance is truly what struck me as something I wanted to share.  It’s something I hold in the utmost esteem when done well despite my rather deficient technical knowledge. Still, it strikes me that the movement of the body is something each literary artist might struggle to describe.  Word choice and rhythm being of the utmost importance when we try to impart for internal immersion that which we feel and sense externally.

Even the concept of doing so is sometimes panic inducing for me.  For too often literature fails to deliver by belaboring every little tic, twitch, step, etc, causing the reader to be forced into reading loads of words and clumsily delivered intricacies that work contrary to the spirit of what was being attempted.  Just as an unintentional misstep or stiffness brings the viewer of dance into painful awareness of each movement, so too does poor word choice and too much detail do to the reader.  The artist in both cases suffers over each word or step and strives to successfully deliver it all without the audience ever knowing or feeling it.

Here I would like to share with you some clips from So You Think You Can Dance.  Each routine is different, designed carefully by different choreographers, and meant to communicate completely different moods and never am I left thinking “that looked like work!”  Sure, it was and I am certainly wowed – but it strikes me as a very bad thing for a reader to be left thinking the book was arduous to write.

Which is your favorite?  What does it seem to communicate?  What did you like/not like?


12 responses to “Dancing and Writing (not simultaneously)

  • Anna C. Bowling

    Ahem. You knew I was going to chime in on this one. :raises hand: My name is Anna, and I am a SYTYCD geek. Saw season three tour live. Set the whole season to record. I actually miss Dave “Sex” Soller. Will save further gushing for my own blog.

    But yeah, describing dance is hard. I found this out when the heroine of my time travel informed me she was a professional dancer. Who would be teaching the hero. So there is much dancing described. It’s hard.

    Personally, I think it’s hard to put a foot wrong (pun intended) with any of the choices but Summer (my TT heroine) insists I give the nod to Twitchington (see? SYTYCD geekery surges) and the Viennese waltz (she also insists I mention that is a show dance and not a proper VW) – if one knows the story behind it, that the choreographers “wrote” this one for their adult daughter who lives with some serious medical conditions but expresses astounding joy when she sees people dancing, it shoots up to a whole other level. Choreographers said their daughter *loved* this one.

    • kimberlyloomis

      I’m right there with you, Anna. I adore that dance. I almost posted the one of Twitchington doing the Mia Michaels’ “Dreaming with a Broken Heart” routine. So wonderful.

      • Anna C. Bowling

        If I hadn’t already posted my Happy Dance Friday for this week, I would slip that one in. Will consider that a request for next week. That’s another Twitchington performance that had my jaw on the floor. Absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful. Mia Michaels is amazing.

      • kimberlyloomis

        She absolutely is, Anna. Love your dance bits!

  • Teresa

    You’re on to something, Kimberly, “the body is something each literary artist might struggle to describe”. How much does the writer tell the reader because there will be the risk of too much, hence putting the reader to sleep. I’m one of those readers. Don’t tell me every little detail, show me.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Teresa – I couldn’t agree with you more. Lately I’ve been perusing some old favorites of mine and have become aghast at how little is being left to the imagination of the reader. It causes me to stumble more often than not and skim the rest of the time.

  • Carol Kilgore

    I love dance, but I don’t think I’d ever attempt to describe it except from how it made the POV character feel. It’s all about emotions.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Carol – That’s an excellent point. Movement can be alluded to in so many ways and, imo, can be so much more effective than attempting to describe every gesture. Utilizing emotions in that context as well, I think, can only heighten the readers’ involvement.

  • Jemi Fraser

    I also love STYTCD – it’s so enjoyable (well after the auditions!) My favourite routine from above is the Mercy one. Love it! 🙂

    • kimberlyloomis

      Jemi- LOL! I’m so there with you. Those auditions can be painful to watch! Mercy – I love that one, too!

  • Al

    I think the best dancing looks effortless (even if we know just how hard a routine must be in reality).
    Writing is the same it should have the perception that it was a pleasure to construct (even if the material is not pleasant)

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