By Glenna Batson, PT, MA (Dance)
Dance is a performing art built upon the ebb and flow of muscular tension. Through muscular tension, dancers express their aesthetic sensibilities. The word “dance,” in fact, stems from the Old High German “danson,” meaning to stretch, and from the earlier Sanskrit root “tan,” meaning tension. The building and resolution of tensions we experience in performance touches us deeply — kinesthetically, emotionally, and spiritually. At the heart of a dancer’s training lies the cultivation of muscular effort – its degree, sensibility, precision, refinement. Although dancers train their bodies in many ways, the cornerstone is technique. Dancers would be hard pressed, however, to come up with one succinct phrase that adequately defines technique. Returning the the dictionary, the word technique simply means the “manner and ability with which we pursue a particular endeavor.” What is the “manner and ability” needed to dance?