Being in awe of beauty seems to be uniquely human. Animals are often better than we are for being in the present, being in their bodies. But awe? This is something that knocks the air out of us. We are speechless. Moved. Spell-bound. How often do you stand in awe of beauty's presence? If you dance tango, my guess is that your answer is: "Nearly every time I dance." Visual awe, such as with the great outdoors, or aural awe both can make us spell-bound. However, dance unites the inner world of aural awe to the outward expression of grace, which makes music and dance--the great Duet of Awe--so important to our lives.
Music, Dance and Awe: Uniquely Human
As a teen I would climb to the top of a mountain with my dog and watch the sun go down behind Mount Peavine and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. My golden retriever was not in awe, but loved to sit next to me. After that, I liked listening to Beethoven in my van as the mountains disappeared into the blackest of nights, far from the city. The Milky Way shone above in the desert sky. My dog sat in the passenger's seat. She was glad to be there, but again, she was not moved by Beethoven or the Milky Way. She never swayed to the music or yipped at the beauty of the stars if I pointed them out. Both visual arts and musical arts bring our species to awe.
The chance to choose your body and your soul
Dance allows you to choose something life does not give you automatically. A dancer can choose to be beautiful and have a beautiful soul. But that offered choice too often not take! Dance allows you to be beautiful in your grace. The "soul" of the dance is one's awe of the music. In other words, you can chose to live the myth of Snow White or to live the myth of the Evil Queen who desperately needed to be the most beautiful to others. Both Snow White and the Queen were beautiful, but the Queen needed the applause of others more than the feeling of being beautiful. It's too late for the Queen, but how about you? That which is inside of you--the music--will keep you dancing. Only the music can bring you a life of inner awe and wonder, even when the audience no longer is there to applaud you if you eventually fail at bringing people to be in awe of your stage moves. If people are watching, let them say, "Wow, I can see the music when they dance!" Let the music be the soul of your outward embodiment of grace.
That will be truly awe-some.
Photo credit: Please go to see/read this wonderful presentation on awe at http://www.slate.com/bigideas/why-do-we-feel-awe
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