To me, the most beautiful thing in the world is a lovely woman. And, to me, the most lovely woman in the world is a woman in graceful motion. And, finally, to me, at the top of beautiful motions in which a lovely woman may engage is the dance.
Martha Graham, American modern dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence Picasso had on the modern visual arts, Stravinsky had on music, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture is quoted as saying: "Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather to all who can read it."
Let me explain what I believe to be beautiful motions in dance. The true art of dance certainly applies to my definition as, in it, the female expresses spirituality and social interaction in nonverbal rhythmic presentations that highlight all her body's fluidity, grace, and emotion. These dances are nothing short of breathtaking. They define the freedom and liberation of the human form.
Yet, as a mobile DJ for many decades, I also adore a woman who dances to popular music in sensual, genuinely flowing freestyle. I am not talking about a dance floor "diva" who tries to "knock you out" with wild gyrations and overtly sexual representations of dance. Granted, I have found such performances to be stimulating to the "id"; however, beautiful is not a term I would apply to ass twisting and simulating hunching.
Instead, I am speaking of a beautiful lady who knows how to "move" and who enjoys responding naturally to rhythm. Her body communication is soulful and honest, not shallow and suggestive of nymphomania. She dances for her own satisfying self-expression, not as a cheap show for attention.
Very often I have not noticed the breathtaking beauty of a woman in a room until she dances. In fact, to me, some very ordinary-looking girls become undeniable radiant when they show their artistically aesthetic movements on the dance floor. As these ladies loosen their limbs and display their souls, they mysteriously weave a sensuous transformation of allurement that I find irresistible.
I am reminded of this poem by Theodore Roethke.
I Knew a Woman
by Theodore RoethkeI knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I'd have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek.)
How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin:
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing did we make.)
Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved.)
Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I'm martyr to a motion not my own;
What's freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways.)
To "measure time by how a body sways" is poetic justice to the stunning dance of a mellifluous female.
It is believed that dance has always been used by humans to show feelings for one of the opposite gender. It is also linked to the origin of "love making."
In European culture, one of the earliest records of dancing is by Homer, whose Illiad describes chorea a circle dance accompanied by singing. The early Greeks made the art of dancing into a system, expressive of all the different passions. For example, the dance of the Furies, so represented, would create complete terror among those who witnessed them.
Greek philosopher Aristotle ranked dancing with poetry and said that certain dancers, with rhythm applied to gesture, could express manners, passions, and actions. The most eminent Greek sculptors studied the attitude, or arrangement of the body, of the dancers for their art of imitating the passion, which is presumed to serve a communicative or expressive purpose.
Attitude of a dancer? I find this very interesting and helpful to my definition of a beautiful female in motion.
In the 19th century, attitude, as an aesthetic term, was defined in an art-related dictionary as...
"The posture or disposition of the limbs and members of a figure, by which we discover the action in which it is engaged, and the very sentiment supposed to be in the mind of the person represented. It comprehends all the motions of the body, and requires a perfect knowledge of ponderation (balancing) and whatever refers to the centre of gravity; but whatsoever attitude be given to any figure, that attitude must show the beautiful parts, as much as the subject will permit, let the subject be what it will.
"It must, besides, have such a turn as, without departing from probability, or from the character of the figure, may diffuse a beauty over the action. It is allowed that the choice of fine attitudes constitutes the greatest part of the beauties of grouping."
(John Gould, Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Artists: Comprising Painters, Sculptors, Engravers, and Architects, from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time, 1835)
Wow, I love to delve into old writings for great understanding of feelings and intuitions I possess.
So old sources tell me that a dancer performs motions with a "perfect knowledge of ponderation" of her "beautiful parts" that conveys a natural attitude through "the greatest part of the beauties of individual grouping."
I think this is exactly what I was trying to convey about the overwhelming quality of dance employed by a confident, coordinated woman with skillful rhythms of motion.
We can take all the mystique out of dancing if we like. Evolutionary psychologists think that dance has an important role in sexual selection and how a woman would measure a man’s attractiveness. Followers of Darwin would argue that individuals dance in order to judge the suitability of potential life partners. Women dance in order to encourage men to do the same so that they can learn more about them. Someone who can dance well is in good health, has a lot of stamina and strength, and can react quickly to movement.
But, I don't like to think of dance in strictly scientific terms. I don't believe scientists can analyze it and discover the proper ethereal qualities of its spiritual makeup. Dance, like poetry, is both silk and steel, both chaste and suggestive, both fire and ice. And, when a lithe and nimble angel moves in dance, the most enchanting spell is cast. Beauty abounds.
If all of this sounds like the rantings of a dirty old man, I apologize. Yet, how can I be untrue to my feelings about music, poetry, and dance? This is the stuff that keeps my head spinning and my blood coursing through my veins. My brain processes the activities and responds with emotions -- music, poetry, and dance keep me alive while providing me a reason for all of this earthly confusion and stress. To me, these gifts are sweet love offerings available for honest satisfaction.
Dance? I don't think I can forget the very first beautiful girl I saw dancing. Since that first experience, I have cherished watching every beautiful female dancer because I know of nothing more lovely, more mysterious, and more thrilling. I hope to appreciate whatever the hell happened to me during my first witness to such a dance until the day I expire. Maybe witnessing one last dance would be the best possible sight on which to close forever my admiring eyes.
Let some photos do what worlds can't. Here are many.