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The poets and philosophers who wished to dance

My seeking for knowledge from the greats has made me a lover of poetry and philosophy. There is something magical about dancers, and some of these philosophers and poets, were able to express with words how we make the invisible visible. 

It is very interesting that German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was depicted as an incorrigible cultural agitator by the aphorist and Pushcart-nominated poet Yahia Lababidi. Although Nietzsche was an atheist, his fondness for irony was always prevalent;  “I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.” Nietzsche danced daily, saying it was his “only kind of piety,” his “divine service.”​

As a dancer, I often muse about my art. Dancing is a direct portal to the invisible, and the more I age, the less I hurry. It’s a knowing that needs equanimity, and learning the art of breathing, pausing, something that is very hard to explain to the young and entranced dancer. It knows how to let your inner Buddha lead the Warrior into battle. Somewhere along our path we seem to find the middle way more appealing, and the extremes less and less attractive. But the joys of that which is explosive needs to be expressed while young, a natural process it is indeed.  There is always an exception to the rule: 

Part of the joy of dancing is conversation. Trouble is, some men can’t talk and dance at the same time.

— Ginger Rogers

Dance my friends, dance! Happiness is only a leap away!

Here is a quote from the Legendary Michael Jackson who gave me no choice but to dream of dance.

“Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the dance lives on. On many an occasion when I am dancing, I have felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists. 

I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and the beloved. I become the victor and the vanquished. I become the master and the slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known. I keep on dancing then it is the eternal dance or creation. The creator and creation merge into one wholeness of joy. I keep on dancing…and dancing…and dancing. Until there is only…the dance.” 


At this point the boy performed a dance, eliciting from Socrates the remark, “Did you notice that, handsome as the boy is, he appears even handsomer in the poses of the dance than when he is at rest?”

“It looks to me,” said Charmides, “as if you were puffing the dancing-master.” [16]

“Assuredly,” replied Socrates; “and I remarked something else, too,—that no part of his body was idle during the dance, but neck, legs, and hands were all active together. And that is the way a person must dance who intends to increase the suppleness of his body. And for myself,” he continued, addressing the Syracusan, “I should be delighted to learn the figures from you.”

“What use will you make of them?” the other asked.

“I will dance, by Zeus.” — Xenophon, Symposium, chapter 2​


It was said by a source unknown that Socrates learned to dance when he was seventy because he felt that an essential part of himself had been neglected. 

~ More quotes ~

Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?

― Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

― Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

I do not know what the spirit of a philosopher could more wish to be than a good dancer. For the dance is his ideal, also his fine art, finally also the only kind of piety he knows, his ‘divine service.

― Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.

― Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is not mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself.

― Havelock Ellis

Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.

― Maya Angelou

Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance.

― Ezra Pound

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.

― William James

Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.

― Voltaire

Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.

― Rumi

We ought to dance with rapture that we might be alive… and part of the living, incarnate cosmos.

― D.H. Lawrence

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon.

― Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat

Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane.

― H.P. Lovecraft

To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.

― Osho

Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire.

― Robert Frost

It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.

― Xiaolu Guo, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers

All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.

― Molière

Be like a branch of a tree; flex your body to face ‘wind of sorrow’; flex little harder to dance in the ‘wind of happiness’.

― Santosh Kalwar

For I have trained myself and am training myself always to be able to dance lightly in the service of thought.

― Søren Kierkegaard

Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.

― Confucius

God match me with a good dancer.

― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.

― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Dancing is silent poetry.

― Simonides

Maybe the poet embellishes too much, and the philosopher overthinks everything, but they both know with absolute certainty, that while they were musing, the dancer had already leaped and tapped into the source.


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