Back To Blogs


The Power of Dance

27th April 2023

‘Dance is the hidden language of the soul’. (Martha Graham)


HOM: Creating, Imagining, and Innovating

Whenever I think about the power of dance, I immediately think of the film ‘Zorba the Greek’. This was a 1964 film based on a book written by Nikos Kazantakis, which I remember seeing as a child and I have never forgotten it. Zorba is a man who lives life with an intensity and when asked why he dances even when alone, he says that he dances when he is happy and when he is sad. For Zorba, dance is not performative, although it could be, but it is the way he embodies and expresses his deepest emotions. This spoke to me then and it still does now, which is why I will happily and sometimes unhappily dance when no one’s looking as a form of release.  Psychologist Alex Pattakos writes that:

Dance represents both an opportunity to express emotions and to surrender to them. It represents the unleashing of one’s spirit along with the integration of mind, body, and spirit at the same time.

Dancing can help overcome negative feelings because both the exercise and emotional responses to the music we’re hearing can increase the release of dopamine levels, which help us shake off some of those feelings.

Of course, dance can also be something which connects us to others either in pairs or in groups. Within many cultures dance helps to bind groups and communities together. On May morning there will undoubtedly be many groups of Morris dancers performing around the country, a tradition which celebrates spring, fertility and new life, and dates to the Roman Festival of Flora.

Then there are the many forms of performative dance, which are meticulously choreographed and for which people practice and train. A true art form.

At the end of this week we will witness one of the most highly choreographed spectacles on earth, the coronation of King Charles III. The ritual and pageantry of the coronation performed to music both old and new is in itself a form of dance that may well be an expression of the ‘soul’ of the nation, embodying its history and future hopes.

As Martha Graham said ‘Dance is the hidden language of the soul’, an expression of many of our deepest held feelings, and perhaps something we ought to engage in more often than we do.


Christine Crossley

Power Of Dance Image