It has been repeatedly claimed that art is healthy— that expression releases tension and eases the mind. Many are well aware that art is a therapeutic source of detoxification, and it is beneficial for people to engage in it. But the benefits of art are not only temporary releases; they are more than quick respites in the rush of daily life. The basic principles and sensations behind the arts can be applied on a much broader scale. Artistry has the ability to transform the way one looks at the world, and how one interprets relationships, experiences, and situations.
I am a dancer and a musician. I have been dancing for 13 years, and music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. For me, dance is more than just first position and leaps. Dancing is letting my body take over and participate in its perfectly instinctual and musical movement, and transcending it with the emotions and storylines attached to the piece I am performing. While dancing, I feel weightless and atmospheric, yet perfectly grounded and exactly where I need to be. When I am playing the flute, the piano, or singing, I find bliss in creating my own abundance of sounds, pitches, and dynamics to elicit something so auditorily pleasing and mentally satisfying. However, these feelings do not just evaporate after the performance. They stay with me in ways few would assume.
Performing gives me insight into performance in general. While I am playing an instrument, my mind encourages instinct and limits overthinking. I simply read the music, then add my own stylistic and dynamic accents that I feel suited to the piece. I produce my best possible sound and play at my absolute best this way. In addition, I find I enjoy myself more when irrelevant variables are blocked by my mind. I have approached schoolwork and other departments of my life in a similar manner. When I am writing an essay, I take natural triggers— intellectual ideas— along with feelings and emotions to compose my piece.
Artistry has also given me a decent amount of respect and open-mindedness. At the studio, I am constantly surrounded by other dancers. I have learned to not compare myself to these artistic athletes, but instead to utilize stylistic attributes I admire and apply them to myself. Even if I am not particularly fond of a movement style, I still respect the character and full indulgence into movement my companions exhibit. I use those around me in the studio to grow, and I fully respect their personal display of emotions, as their artistic journeys are their own. If we as dancers did not act this way, the dance world would be an awful place. This artistic mentality has allowed me to approach the world with an open mind, as there is reasoning and value behind all things. For instance, I see different cultures as beautiful with all their distinct traditions and styles, and I respect them tremendously. Everyone and everything has a story, as cheesy as it may sound, and art has opened my eyes to this and made the idea less empty and far-off. I have been able to engage my mind in new pursuits as my eyes are opened wider now.
I challenge you to utilize the arts more in your everyday life. The benefits will not just be temporary. Everyone has an artistic side to them, even if it is not widely expressed. Whether it is styling your closet or listening to music, if you allow art’s positive aura to influence you beyond the constraints of time, you will find you enjoy life more, and those around you enjoy your presence more as well. Let it affect the way you think and the way you attack all that life throws your way. You will perform better, live more idealistically, and be more open-minded to all the world’s colors.
Graphics: Anika Tsapatsarsis