The rhythm of the dance

Taking my inspiration from an article in the current Tate Gallery magazine, by headteacher Kevin Jones.


STEM – science technology engineering and maths should be STEAM, adding the arts – I like that.

A child is twirling around while circling a tree. “I’m orbiting,” he calls back when asked. Kevin Jones writes: “In a child science may well be a dance. There is wisdom in the dancing child who doesn’t know that art and science are different – who uses them equally to express his creativity.”


“Butterflies are very interesting. Here these things are little grubs for a while. And then they go into a little coffin. There they are in a sarcophagus, and then they come out and dance with the angels.” (Roger Tory Peterson)

“Dancers are the messengers of the gods.” (Martha Graham)

It may or may not be the case that everything in the universe dances, but the child, the butterfly and the dancer all pick up on rhythms that lie in the very nature of things. If we’re carried along by the dance, if we are the dance (“how can we know the dancer from the dance,” to quote WB Yeats), then the world just might reveal a few of its secrets. If we walk, and each next step is predictable, then we might as well not move at all.


Somewhere I read a quote about Royal Academicians being grumpy old men. Really, I thought? Then I remembered the academicians as portrayed in Mike Leigh‘s Mr Turner movie.  I don’t believe in all this grumpiness. But maybe they should take up dancing.

Turner came over in the movie as an old curmudgeon before his time. The dance for Turner lay in the way he handled colour. Could it be we all only have so much dance in us? Could that explain the grumpiness…?

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