By Shannon Sweeny
Just trust me and jump. As a dancer, I have been jumping, spinning and gliding since I was a little girl. Now that I’m older, dancing is all about the connection and the trust between me and my partner.
Committing to any art, in my case, dance, forces you to connect on a deep and emotional level. Creativity requires a performer to look inside herself for the apex of her emotions and to use those emotions in her art. This is why dancers are great at love.
Natural eye contact that makes most people uncomfortable connects two performers and brings them to the same level. This connection does not make a dancer nervous or scared, but rather makes us feel safe and is necessary in order to transcend physical boundaries. Physicality means safety, not insecurity.
Dancers feel with their body, mind and soul. We feel more intensely because we are taught how to utilize our emotions to add depth to our art. We feel love, hate, and anger, but we also know the healing that comes from expressing them and we understand that a new day will always come.
Artists are constantly making themselves vulnerable on the stage for the audience to judge. The most effective art is open, honest and real. A dancer must be brave enough to surpass their fear of judgment in order to show emotion and connect with the audience, their partner and themselves. The love we have for our art directly correlates to the courageous and undying love we can have for others.
I am constantly pushed to portray a feeling, an emotion, and a story without words. I don’t have a script or subtitles to explain – all I have is my body and the emotions needed to put behind every movement.
In order to effectively communicate, I must be in touch with my own emotions and delve deep into myself. This is the amazing thing about art: it forces you to understand the deepest parts of yourself. It’s only once this part is accessed that you can share it with others.
I love with my emotions on every limb of my being and because of that, I show who I am without inhibition.
If I fall, it is not a mistake, but rather an opportunity to do something new that has never been done before. Dance helps me love blindly, bravely and unconditionally. I have been dropped once, and I will be dropped again, but I know that I will get back up. I love without abandon, without logic and without a safety net, because through dance, I’ve learned that I can always pick myself back up.
Shannon is a recent graduate of Emerson College with a degree in Political Communications with minors in Gender Studies and Dance. She has passion for the arts, human rights, non-profit work and progressive thinking. She now resides in New Hampshire and hopes to soon move back to the city she loves, Boston.