The Relationship Between Dance And Music

TTry dancing without music and you will end up looking like a ludicrous caricature of someone like the late Patrick Swayze who held one and all spellbound dancing with Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. Whether you are listening to one of Beethoven’s 9 symphonies or are subjected to a rap song by Eminem, you might not be able to sit still for a long while. You would be energized into moving your body parts and some dance form will not only overtake you but flow out of you.

Scientists have known for some time that even a fetus in the womb can hear music and react to it. It starts moving its limbs in an attempt to dance though it does not even know what dance is. In a local experiment, children between 1 and 2 years of age were made to listen to Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Heard it Through the Grapevine”. Guess what happened? Within a minute of listening to the insistent drums and guitar riffs, the babies started to move in synchronicity with the song. They fell, as they were bound to, but, resumed immediately even as they were sitting or lying. This proves that one does not have to learn dancing to break into a spontaneous dance routine. All it takes is for the music to play.

Image credit: kidsyogaguide

Image credit: kidsyogaguide

The two art forms, music and dance, together seem to create an emotional quotient, always complementing each other. Researchers at Dartmouth had two groups of very different people taking part in a complicated experiment that was to decide the connection between music and dance: College students from the U.S. and villagers from a Cambodian village. They found that an emotional reaction was the result of being subjected to music in both the groups. Dancing erupted in them both irrespective of their background.

While dancing is the most natural outcome of music, there are other emotions that can result too. For example, songs by Bob Dylan et al had a whole generation seething with anger. Did they dance as well to these songs? They certainly did. The many concerts in which hundreds of songs with themes like the futility of war, the essentiality of peace and brotherhood of man had millions dancing to the tunes.

Didn’t Woodstock have people dancing together around the country if not around the world? In 1979, Jesse Colin Young had put together an anti-nuke rally at the Battery Park, New York. The initial anger in the people on the stage and the audience had to give way to sanity. And, sanity gave birth to dance. Chet Powers’ beautiful song “Get Together” sung by Jesse, Graham Parsons, Steven Stills and others had the record crowd of 250,000 joining in the singing and swaying with perfect timing.

We can deduce from the above narrations that music, be it a lullaby sung to a baby in the cradle or a soldier with his gun marching in a parade ground, can make you dance. We can also see that music can produce emotions and that emotions can find an outlet in dancing.

Roger Brenshofl manages the branding identity of funyo and is also their activity curator. He is passionate about what he does and loves to include visuals for communicating each campaign. One of his major responsibilities is managing content marketing and redesigning the response forms according to client feedbacks.