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Jensen 1 Sydney Jensen Cathy Black Dance 261 April 13, 2011 Dance Throughout the ages, dance

has served as a way for man to release the inner spirit and express emotion. It has become an integral part of society in nearly all cultures. It is appreciated for its ability to tell a story, express emotion, and lift the human spirit. It can be a positive influence on individuals and society in general. I was attracted to the art of dance early in life because of its positive impact on my emotional well-being and physical health. Dance is a very important part of my life and something that I depend on to help me every day. I also feel that through dance, I am able to positively affect the lives of others. I consider dance to be a celebration of the human body. It provides a host of health benefits to the participant. It serves as a beautiful way to express ideas and emotions. It can touch and uplift others who may observe dance performance. I believe dance is a talent that is bestowed by God upon some individuals a talent that must be developed and shared with others in order to show our appreciation to our Heavenly Father for the gift that he has given us. I have always believed that dance is a celebration of the human body. Dance uses the strength, flexibility, and coordination of the body to tell a story and lift the spirits of those who both participate and observe. A body in motion can have a powerful effect on the mind and spirit. I believe that this concept is one of the key forces that drives me to dance. I have been blessed with a healthy body, one that is strong and flexible, and one that can move in a beautiful and coordinated way. Dance is a way that I can use that blessing to positively influence others.

Jensen 2 The human body is a miracle in itself. When one thinks of how two cells can come together and then develop into the complexity of the human organism, one has to be amazed. Of course, it is the fact that our bodies house our spirits that make it such a wonderful thing. The body allows us to express the thoughts and emotions of the spirits which dwell within our bodies. Moving the human body and creating aesthetic work with the body becomes a miracle, one that can be appreciated by dancers and audiences alike. This concept is one of the reasons that I love to dance. Heavenly Father has blessed me with a healthy body. My way of thanking Him and showing gratitude for my body is by learning about the body that I have been given, experiencing movement and using it, and taking care of my body. I truly feel that dance is a celebration of the human body. The body in movement is a fascinating instrument just as listening to a piece of music captures the listener and captivates, the movement of the body can evoke the same powerful responses. What a blessing it is to have a body and be able to move it like it moves! I also appreciate the positive effect that dance can have on the human body. Dance has many health benefits. It maintains and increases strength, flexibility, and coordination. Those who participate in dance on a regular basis are able to maintain healthier bodies that can be more useful and functional into later life. I have a desire to stay healthy and I have found that dance has helped me thus far in my life and I anticipate it will continue to do so. Dance is an excellent source of healthful exercise. Exercise of the human body is a very important aspect in ones physical and emotional health. Besides dance simply being a form of exercise, dance is very beneficial in specific areas. For example, dance helps with balancing, coordination, strength, and flexibility. In fact, Treva Bedinghaus of About.com said that the top four health benefits include flexibility, strength, endurance, and a sense of well-being (Bedinghaus). Each of these factors

Jensen 3 helps the human body be healthier and stronger, and better able to cope with the other demands and rigors of life. Dance can help one enjoy their physical body later into life, and older members of our society can even benefit by taking up the art of dance for its benefits to both the body and spirit. Dance is a way that I can express myself. As Martha Graham said once, [dance] reveals the inner landscape, which is the soul of man (Graham). Through dance, many different kinds of emotions and feelings can be conveyed. The emotional expression can be of benefit to both the performer and the audience. It is not easy to make the connection between the motion of the physical body and the emotion that inspires the choreography. Making this connection between the physical movements of dance and the emotion behind it is something that dancers must develop and refine over their life time in dance. The dancers ability to make the emotional connection and let go, and not think about how they look or if they did something wrong, requires confidence. There must be a sense of pride and confidence in the individual. I feel that many emotions from deep within can come to the surface when I put music on and start moving. Sharing these feelings and emotions through dance not only helps to make the dancing look more natural and aesthetic, but also more individualistic. Therefore, I am able to express ideas and emotions through dance. When I am able to dance free of worries and burdens, I begin to live without fear and I am able to release my energy into my body and out. From an early age in my experience with dance, I have found that I do enjoy performing. The audience can be another individual, a small group, a large crowd, or even just myself. One of my friends and I started dancing together at home when we were about nine years old. We had no formal training at that point, but we loved to find some music that we liked, choreograph a dance for it, and then go find anybody that we could who would watch our

Jensen 4 performance. That is how I first learned how enjoyable it is to do something that brings joy to others. Of course, that ability to perform in a meaningful way has been developed and enhanced with some formal dance training over the subsequent years. One of my favorite things about performing is when I am able to touch someone out in the audience. With every performance, I make a goal to reach out to someone in need and touch them through my dancing. As President Uchtdorf said, our hands can become His hands, our eyes, His eyes; our heart, His heart (Uchtdorf). Performing in shows is my way of becoming His hands and providing entertainment for those that may be in need. My hope is that I am able to lift other people up by dancing for them. I have found that when I perform with this kind of mindset, my performances go so much better. They are more fulfilling to me, as they allow me to do something of benefit to others. I believe that dance is a talent and gift bestowed upon individuals by our loving Heavenly Father. I feel that I have been blessed with this gift. As a recipient of this gift, it is my responsibility to develop myself as a dancer in this lifetime. To help me do this, I must thoroughly understand the human body so that I can more fully celebrate it. I feel that dance is one of my callings in life. I share the sentiment expressed by Martha Graham when she said, I was chosen to be a dancer, and with that, you live all your life (Graham). Like Graham, I feel that I have been chosen to be a dancer and that is my life. I have a duty to develop the art of dance, learn to express myself in different ways, and touch the lives of others by sharing my talent. Ether 12:35 mentions how our talents will be taken away from us if we do not share them with others. How important it is to share the talent of dance with others? President Spencer W. Kimball once said that God has endowed us with talents and time, with latent abilities and with opportunities to use and develop them in his service. He therefore expects much of us, his

Jensen 5 privileged children (Kimball). I believe dance is one of my purposes here on Earth and that I can positively affect the lives of others through dance. 1 Timothy 4:14 states neglect not the gift that is in thee. I cannot let my gift of dance sit idle. I must use it and share it in order to help build the kingdom of God. I am so glad that I found the talent of dance as a younger child and that I have been able to work and develop this talent for the past nine years of my life. Dance is a beautiful gift to me and mankind in general. My hope is that I can continue in the study of dance and develop it in a way that helps keep my body healthy and strong, helps others, and strengthens my relationship with Heavenly Father.

Jensen 6 Works Cited Bedinghaus, Treva. "Top 4 Health Benefits of Dance." About.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 12 Apr 2011. <http://dance.about.com/>. Graham, Martha. "I Am a Dancer." Print. Kimball, Spencer W. The Miracle of Forgiveness. 1969. 100. Print. Uchtdorf, Dieter. ""You Are My Hands"." General Conference. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 04 Apr 2011. Address.

Scripture References: Ether 12:35 1 Timothy 4:14