“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears. We dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams. We are the dancers and we create the dreams. -Albert Einstein

 

Today, all across America, dancers are wearing orange in memory of Jaime Guttenberg-a fourteen-year-old dancer who was among the seventeen victims killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting.  From top ballet companies like American Ballet Theater to local studios, dancers everywhere are honoring the lives that were tragically ended.

This tribute in honor of Jaime is the true meaning of art.  Dance is a universal language that brings complete strangers together through the pursuit of beauty and perfection.  Dancers are uniting to say “we are with you” to Jaime’s family and this makes me so proud to be both a dancer and an American.

Many people are using this powerful statement (wearing orange) as a chance to talk about their political beliefs and argue for different legislation. While that reaction is understandable,  I wonder if it’s possible to put aside our differences for just one day and remember our humanity. Can we not mourn for the lives that will never be lived out? Think of the graduations that won’t be attended. The inventions that won’t be made. The songs that won’t be written, played or sung. The stories that will never be told…this is beyond TRAGIC.  As a dancer, it pains me to think about how Jaime will never walk into a studio and hear music again. She will never step out onto a stage, underneath bright lights to dance in front of an audience.

Dancers choose this hard life because there is something so pure about offering their audiences an escape from the ugliness of this world-even if it’s only for a brief moment.  Dance can make you laugh and smile or force you to deal with emotions and pain you weren’t aware of. One of the purest purposes of art is to comfort those who are grieving and today it did just that. Let us never forget why we dance.

 

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