Dance means so much to me. I just finished a manuscript where I think I’m essentially trying to answer your question. I find that what dance means to me is always evolving and changing.
I published a poem not long ago in the Naugatuck River Review (http://naugatuckriverreview.com/) which was later included in the poetry anthology Not A Muse. So, I’ll share it here too, in the hopes that it shows how one art can be in dialog with another.
“I even asked him, ‘What do you see in me?’ I thought everyone looked better than I did. He said, ‘You moved different; I like the way you move’.”—Suzanne Farrell
Ivan brushes back his shaggy bangs
cut to look like Godunov’s,
stretching his leg á la seconde on the barre,
checking himself out in the mirror.
I uncoil hair from a bun
pinned primly to the back of my head.
Unraveled, it stretches the length of my spine.
Ivan says “You have a Suzy-Farrell-skinny
ponytail.” He uses “Suzy” like we know
her: and in a way we do. We follow her.
Flashing a grin, Ivan says, “Give me your ginch,”
But I can’t do it. Only she has the exact
head over shoulder stare: one part
come hither, other, don’t dare. Mr. B
choreographed his public display of devotion—
her ginch, or her loose limbs; And Suzanne’s skin
the color of peeled apple; chestnut hair,
his peculiar taste for brunettes.
Ivan swivels his body to face his leg,
combré forward into another stretch. He smiles—
but in the mirror there is just a girl
with gray-blue eyes and a case of Giselle-itis.
I wink at Ivan anyway, even though he’ll never
be Godunov; I’ll never be Farrell. They’d never dance
together, but we dream that pas de deux
the way dancers do: imitation and sweat.
Thank you Renee for your response. I really enjoyed that you shared your poem. You mention you have a manuscript that may answer my question and that you believe the meanings of dance are always evolving and changing. It is also my belief that meanings in all contexts constantly evolve and change and this will be a major consideration in my research. Is the manuscript you mentioned in a form that you would invite other people like myself to review/read? I would be delighted to do so. Thanks again for sharing the poem.