Life Without Dance
For all of my previous blogs I have talked about dancing and all it has done for me and for others, but for this final blog I would like to reflect on what life would be like without it. As challenging as it is to even think that it is possible, I am sure it once was. Imagine if every time you spun around it was as if you were walking in circles without it ever surmounting into a twirl. For some of us dance has been our only outlet, but at several instances throughout history, dance either did not exist or was banned.
Throughout history there have been many legal or religious prohibitions against dancing, which have been applied in numerous places around the world at a variety of instances. For example, in Islamic countries, Germany, Sweden, Japan, and India throughout parts of history and for some countries, even today, dancing was or still is banned either on certain religious holidays or sometimes overall as it is thought to be promiscuous or against God’s wishes. In all Islamic countries, throughout all of their history, dancing between unmarried men and women is thought to be haram or forbidden, but in Germany the laws are less severe. Dating back to the Middle Ages, and even today, dancing is banned on religious holidays that are meant for mourning or contemplation. In fact, dancing on Good Friday is illegal in 13 of Germany’s total 16 states. While people will not be arrested for dancing, venues that host events in which dancing or celebration are involved can be fined with over 1000 Euros. In Indian history as well, many forms of dancing were frowned upon or banned as they were thought to be promiscuous. In Sweden, even today public dancing is forbidden regardless of the season. Many even say that tapping your feet to music is illegal. As for Japan, since the 1940s dancing at nightclubs transformed into hotbeds for prostitution and thus dancing is viewed very negatively by many of the country’s officials. Furthermore, dancing after midnight was banned for 67 years after the end of World War II, and it was only recently, in the June of 2015 that this ban was lifted. In Kuwait, there is still a very strict policy for behavior in concert scenarios in which barely any movement is allowed aside from clapping one’s hands and swaying slightly. In 2012, the Taliban massacred 17 innocent men at a party in Afghanistan because they were listening to music and dancing. Even today, due to the Taliban many Islamic countries have forbade their women from dancing although in modern times most other countries have rid themselves of these laws.
After conducting this research, I was shocked by the number of countries that not only had bans on dancing in the past, but also still do. Dancing is acknowledged as the universal language of the body, and life without it seems unimaginable for thousands of individuals, myself included. Thus, during this month of thanks, I am thankful that dancing is not banned where we live so that it can be used as an outlet of expression that results in peace and tranquility for all those who need it. As someone great once said, “Dance is a way to find yourself and lose yourself…all at the same time” and I hope all of you get a chance to feel that way in your life, whether it is through dancing or not.