Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dance, Acrobatics, and skateboarding

 Art is expressed through various mediums: sculpting, painting, dance, music, and so forth. These can be organized on a concrete - dynamic continuum. In sculpting, one makes a solid and rigid figure. Painting may produce a fixed piece, but it offers increased fluidity, motion, and freedom of expression. Dance involves dynamic movements in the flux of time. Still, they are the movements of a physical body in space. By contrast, music is the most transcendental, energetic, and intangible of the arts. Out of the mentioned mainstream categories of art, I believe skateboarding most strongly resembles dance.

     Firstly, though the exact nature between dance and music is controversial - some maintain that dance is a bodily manifestation of music, (as some dancers exclaim, ‘I do not dance to music; I become music’), while others hold that music merely helps coordinate dance – dance is almost always accompanied by music, and more so, is typically synchronized with it. In contrast, skateboarding, as acrobatics, is usually unaccompanied by formal music altogether.                                                                                                                 
    Another central feature of both dance and acrobatics that distinguishes them from ordinary human movement is the precarious positions assumed by performers in relation to gravity. For instance, dancers raise their legs to awkward angles, fall forward or backward, spin or rotate in the air, or simply assume awkward foot stances. The magic is that they maintain perfect balance and grace. In contrast, in ordinary human movement, people attempt to maintain the most stable and safe postures possible, in particular, those requiring least effort to maintain.   
               Acrobatics, however, goes further in the degree of instability that it expresses. Typically, the acrobat is performing movements which so significantly defy gravity that danger of physical injury is constant. Hence, whereas spectators hold their breath while watching acrobats perform somersaults and mid air rotations of sorts, and feel relieved when the acrobat safely completes his routine, spectators of dance typically lack such fearfulness. Skateboarding, like acrobatics, has a considerably higher level of instability and danger relative to dance.



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