Glenna Batson: “Dance—A Human Right with No Barriers to Participation”

Part of our “Art and Artists are Essential” collection and invitation.

At the current moment, we remain confined to our homes and harnessed to technology. We are literally out of touch not only with many friends and family, but also with social encounters – incidental, yet meaningful. The duration of this pandemic is unknown and its long term consequences, unprecedented.

Enter the arts. I speak as a dancer, navigating within smaller spaces, staying attuned to the needs of body, mind and soul. Despite the confinement, I am struck by the invincibility of movement – the urge, the drive, the passion. Movement is irrepressible! I realize that movement, however small, however felt and expressed – is a right, one that can become a celebration of human embodiment.

Dancers: Clementine Telesfort, Belinda Papavasiliou
Photo by Susan Sentler

As I reach across the computer screen in teaching, I reflect on the undeniable fact that every gesture of face, voice, hands or body part is a call to communicate. I make up small ‘dances’ out of sitting and standing. We pause together in the moment to sense how breathing shapes our bodies, settles the mind, calms the heart.

The world has largely moved online and dancers have been quick to transition. You won’t have to search far to find a bounty of dance classes and performances to delight you or keep you fit.

But I invite you to go a little deeper. When you find yourself weary of staring at your screen, pause and enter into a small dance of your own. Close your eyes and relish the sensations of movement within you. Take a look around the room and notice how light makes all things palpable, makes things dance. Linger in this pause a little longer. You’ll realize that with dance, there’s no barrier to participation. You can join in this celebration of embodiment at any time, at any point, and connect with all that is alive. — Glenna Batson, Instructor for DANCE 575S: Somatics: Embodiment for the Twenty-first Century

Glenna Batson is a researcher/lecturer who, the past four decades, has honed a trans-disciplinary approach to the study of embodied cognition, bridging dance, science and somatic studies.

“Dance in the Snow” by Claire Kraemer created for SOC 180S: Society, the Self, and the Natural World taught by Ava LaVonne Vinesett, Associate Professor of the Practice/DUS/Dance Faculty Director/Baldwin Scholars.