Dance and the Human Form

I am a dancer. My body is my instrument. I take good care of it, it has treated me well. I have been dancing for the past twenty-five years. – Tim Persent

Oh how many dancers wish they could say that. As a dancer, your body is your craft and you are constantly walking the line between testing your limits while letting your body stay healthy. While dance is undoubtedly beautiful, it is painful and can involve a lot of sacrifice. A well-known saying is “no pain, no gain.” However, when does that mentality cross the line and put your body and health in danger? We all hope that dancers know when to “take a break” and let their bodies recover. Sadly, this is not always the case. We push ourselves. We perform in spite of the pain. We grin and bear it and hope that we do not cause irreparable damage. Sometimes we get away with it. Other times we don’t.

The two videos I am posting today are a closer look at how dancers use their bodies. The first video, Beautiful Illusion, highlights the different injuries dancers can sustain on critical parts of the bodies. The dancer in this video, Olivia Ratcliffe, was a professional dancer who studied at the Royal Ballet School and the English National Ballet School. Unfortunately, she had to stop dancing professionally due to chronic tendonitis. She decided to study graphic design and was able to combine her passion for dance with her new interest to create this video. Olivia also created a blog for this project which you can find HERE. It hasn’t been updated since 2012 however you can still see some of the thought process that went on behind the scenes.

The second video is both a personal narrative and a glimpse of a dancer’s body in action. In Body of a Dancer, Tim Persent, a professional dancer in Holland, describes his daily routine and the conversation he has with his body. It is interesting to contrast his fluidity with his obvious strength. There are places in the video where you can see the impact of the landing reverberating through his muscles. The slow motion just helps you to appreciate his movements even more. Along with the dancing, Tim’s voice is beautiful and soothing to listen to. “Dancing is spirit made flesh. It physicalizes ideas, emotions, thoughts. That’s why it is beautiful, powerful, and freeing.” 

Both videos are captivating in the way they portray and emphasize aspects of the human body. Also, the dancers are absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Olivia Ratcliffe for her grace, effortlessness and endless extensions. Tim Persent for his power and the deliberateness of his movements.