“Dance involves both body and soul”

How can I explain the power of some moments of performance? Sometimes through dancing you experience the deep pleasure of simply being alive, of moving, of breathing. Dancing is so intensely physical, so ecstatic, so personal. When I dance in MacMillan’s The Song of the Earth, I’m in touch with universal truths that I would never have the courage to put into words; to the very core of my being I feel the joy of life, the sorrow of death, the desperate rage of struggling against the laws of nature, and the peace that finally comes from accepting those laws. At moments like these, dancing remains what it was in prehistory: a religious experience in the most profound sense. […]


For Michelangelo, the human body was an instrument of the soul, the noble means by which we reach towards God, and in rare performances I have felt something similar. I hesitate to speak of such things -to speak of them is almost to profane them, or to risk the chance that they will never happen again- but every now and then, in a ballet like The Song of the Earth or Swan Lake, I begin to understand the ancient belief that the true artist is possessed by some power, some spirit. I feel touched and elevated by something that far transcends the merely human; I sense that for a few moments I am the privileged instrument for higher truths […] and I feel deeply blessed to be part of an art form that somehow allows the wordless communication of matters so deep, so important. Make no mistake about it -at its highest, dance involves both body and soul. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t still be dancing.

-Karen Kain, Movement Never Lies: An Autobiography
(she signed my copy “For Meg – hang on to the joy!” …I couldn’t at the time, but I’m finding it again. And that’s what counts)

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