Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dancing and Writing

Posted by Lynne Griffin

I started my artistic life off as a dancer. Not a Dancing with the Stars kind of dancer, a So You Think You Can Dance kind of dancer. Lyrical, contemporary, jazz and ballet, with some musical theater on the side.

When I was growing up, dancing and dancers were part of everyday life. Variety shows featured big dance numbers, award shows had them too. Before your wedding you brushed off your dance shoes, perhaps you hadn't danced publicly since elementary and middle school dances, where you were taught ballroom.

Growing up in my small town with pretty traditional parents, I'm grateful that art, music, dance and the written word were so well-respected. Neither artistically inclined, my parents supported my love of dance, and books. As surprised as I am that my artistic expression left the dance floor and found the page, I see parallels in these two art forms.

In every novel, capturing mood is essential to story telling. And while some stories are darker than others, taking you to places you dare not go, changing the way you think about things, so can interpretive dance. Some beautiful novels, like dances, are termed quiet, their message simple and beautiful. A novel can inspire a dance. A dance can tell a story.

There's a connection between art forms, as I see it. I'm thrilled to see renewed enthusiasm for dance in our popular culture. It makes me want to take a class. Or create a character who's at home on the stage.

Who doesn't love being the girl on top of the piano?


DeAnna Cameron said...

ooooh, I love this post! I couldn't agree with you more. I wrote my novel, THE BELLY DANCER, as an homage to my love for the art and history of belly dancing. I love to write, I love to dance, and I love being able to combine the two.

Larramie said...

Many, many summers ago I found BALLERINA by Edward Stewart at the library and since then my respect/admiration for dancers and dance has known no bounds.

Lovely memories Lynne, thank you.

Anonymous said...

One of the perfect connections between art forms is writing and music - songwriting. I couldn't imagine writing a song, but have deep admiration for those who do. It's a gift.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Deanna, I'm so glad the post resonated with you. After posting, I went out and signed up for a class.

Larramie, they are lovely memories to me and it was fun to share them. I've ordered a copy of The Ballerina. I look forward to reading it.

Joanna, yes, another perfect connection. My musical children dabble in songwriting. I will encourage them to pursue writing this summer.


Anonymous said...


One of the things I love most about writing (especially personal essay and journal style) is that sometimes the writer herself is also the most important reader. I loved that you went out and signed up for a class after you wrote the words "It makes me want to take a class." Sometimes we writers just need to see things in writing (our own) before we make our next move in life!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Thanks, Tara. You're right, I really needed to write that post. I'd been toying with signing up for a class for months. Yesterday, I went right out and did it. The first class is tomorrow. Wish me luck. I imagine Sunday, I'll bit a tad sore. But I know it will be worth it.


Anonymous said...

How did the class go? I hope it will inspire more writing!Sometimes I try to stop myself from doing creative things that aren't writing because I'm afraid they will take away time that I should be writing. Like yesterday when I felt guilty for continuing to work on a collage after my kids got bored. As I cut and glued on my porch (looking over my shoulder to make sure neighbours weren't watching) I kept thinking, the kids are busy for a minute- you should write. How silly.