Our Intelligent Bodies in Motion

Emotional and intellectual intelligence are just two kinds of smart. There are more. Consider your ability to move your body without seeming to think. Beginning dancers must be taken through and focus on a series of exercises at the barre. But by the time you are a young adult, you are ready to fine-tune your Stradivarius. Yes, we live within our instrument and what a grand instrument it is! So let’s bring the mind and emotional body together. Your internal intelligence, which is a flow of limitless wisdom, could most likely guide you through all the exercises at barre as well as center, rehearsal, performance, and driving your car home seamlessly and automatically. Have you ever wondered how you drove across a highway and through a myriad of turns and back roads without a hitch or thought until you are sitting in front of your home or destination thinking HOW did I get here? Or maybe you went through a combination for class that you really did not have to think about at all. That is your automatic cruise control and GPS in action, compliments of your brain on autopilot.

Consider the diverse intelligences involved in a dance teacher’s preparation. It may be difficult to measure all the skills that make a dance teacher an expert, but there is no shortage of abilities. The expert teacher must, among a great many other things, be able to 1) plan instructional units, lessons, and curriculum objectives to calibrate an achievable level improvement in every level of student; 2) create productive relationships with students, colleagues, and parents; 3) develop age-appropriate teaching practices that generate strategies for improvement; 4) outline a syllabus that keeps all teachers on the same page; and 5) generate progress reports for all students and communicate them to faculty.

Combinations of intelligences support real-world activities. A dancer activates a number of different intelligences in addition to the bodily-kinesthetic one, including at a minimum musical, logical-mathematical, and spatial intelligences. This leads us to the idea that intelligences integrate and expand our entire lives. We can only get better as we mature as dancers and teachers.

– from author Cheryl Ale’s The Spark: The Legacy That Changed the Dance World