By Jennifer Sadler
Dance is a universal phenomenon. People all over the world love to dance. Dance crosses cultural divides with a power to express emotion that goes beyond language. As dance traditions have passed down through countless generations, it has helped to preserve pieces of our diverse human history that may otherwise have been lost.
No one knows for sure why people first danced, but humans seem to have an innate desire for expression through movement. As children, we learn movement patterns as readily as we learn language. Children naturally love dance. Think about how often you’ve seen small children dancing with complete joy and abandon to music.
The physical benefits of dance are widely accepted. More recently, studies have discovered that dance can benefit students’ ability to learn in everyday classrooms by stimulating mental alertness therefore aiding in concentration, memorization and absorbing information. A springboard for creativity, dance also encourages modeling, self-awareness, cooperation, art appreciation and more. The use of low-impact movement and dance therapy can also improve the gait and balance of elderly people, lowering the risks of falling and injury.
In addition to cultural traditions and expressions, some dance for the sheer joy of it; while others dedicate their lives to dance—through teaching, practicing or performing.
Columbus has a legendary history of dance. Institutions like BalletMet Columbus and The Ohio State University Department of Dance have provided artistic excellence and dance education for decades. Columbus is also dotted with smaller professional and amateur dance companies, studios and schools such as Columbus Dance Theatre, Feverhead, Kristina Isabelle Dance Company, Thiossane West African Dance Institute, a statewide organization that inclusively supports the art and practice of dance called the OhioDance and many more. There are several folk dance companies and also a vibrant hip-hop dance scene with many who started out in youth programs like TRANSIT ARTS, whose home is at Central Community House, one of the many settlement houses located throughout the city.
Columbus is also fortunate to have the Wexner Center for the Arts, which has brought us experiences the likes of the world-premiere of Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Legacy Tour. The tour was the last chance for audiences to experience the superb dancers that Cunningham personally trained. Cunningham was internationally known for his lifelong contribution to the evolution of contemporary dance. More recently, in collaboration with the exhibition Bebe Miller: Tracing History at OSU Urban Arts Space, the Wexner Center premiered Bebe Miller’s latest dance theatre work, A History. Miller is internationally acclaimed as one of the leading choreographers of her generation and currently is a professor in the Department of Dance at OSU.
As the most comprehensive online events guide and resource for arts and culture in central Ohio, ColumbusArts.com offers a virtual guide through the Columbus art world with a searchable database of events, concerts, performances and more. ColumbusArts.com is an engaging place for artists and arts organizations to share what they do, with an average of 30,000 users per month. The ColumbusArts.com Artist Directory allows visual, performing and literary artists to create a profile and portfolio to showcase their work—for free—and enables art enthusiasts to easily search for and connect with them. Our monthly ColumbusArts.com artist profile series features interviews with a few of the many talented individuals who make up central Ohio’s thriving creative community.
This month's profile features BHB (a stage name that stands for Brothers Helpin’ Bruthas), a huge local talent who has been immersed in hip-hop dance and music since he was just a kid. He practices a hip-hop style of deejaying and dance called breaking or “b-boying.” In 1995, BHB hosted the first Hip-Hop Expo at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, bringing most of the city's deejays, emcees, b-boys, b-girls and graffiti artists under one roof. The Hip Hop Expo has become an event that many Midwest hip-hop enthusiasts use as a place to network and voice their reverence for the culture. BHB is a powerful mentor for young people in the community, providing workshops and using his positive hip-hop movement to deter youth and young adults away from negative actions. BHB teaches dance and hosts open mics with TRANSIT ARTS at Central Community House, one of Columbus’ many settlement houses. GCAC recently spoke with BHB to learn more about him and his current projects.
Columbus Children's Theatre's No Dogs Allowed!
This is the story of Iris, a bright 8-year-old, who lives "in a place called the Bronx, in the Kingdom of 3rd Avenue... in the Land of New York City," with her family and her dog El Exigente. One bright day, the family decides to take a trip to the Enchanted State Park and Iris is determined to bring her beloved Exigente, even though at the park there are No Dogs Allowed! With a cast of unique charming and funny characters...
OSU's Dance Uptown: Feast Your Senses
Imagine 18th century corsets, Eastern European folk rhythms, underground hip hop, and dancing in socks all in one place. It’s Dance Uptown: Feast your Senses, a contemporary dance concert with a sensual and diverse palette of flavors and styles. Local and international choreographers create four original works inspired by deconstructed baroque ballet, emotionally laden expressionism, tender narratives of passage...
60th Columbus International Film + Video Festival
Did you know that Columbus is home to the longest running film festival in the United States? Better known outside Columbus and around the world the CIFVF is quietly growing its presence locally with extended programming and screening partnerships all over town. The 60th Columbus International Film + Video Festival starts this year with a trip to Japan via Worthington, Ohio. An award winning Japanese film...