A new and one-of-a-kind trend has developed in the dance world. Dancing to spoken word has been a creative way to connect words through a story that is both said and danced. It is almost as if the story is being narrated and the dancer is acting it out on stage. The dancer is the artist, and the spoken word is the blank and white canvas waiting to be painted with an original story.
Spoken word is simply someone telling a story that creates emotion or reminds them of something or someone in their life. It could also be something that the narrator has struggled with in life, or what their hopes and dreams are. When dancing to spoken word, it must contain a strong message or moral of the story, so that it creates interest and moves the audience.
Dancing to spoken word demands a dancer that is emotional so the audience can feel the mood of the story. The dancer basically makes a picture for the audience of what is being narrated. It may be a series of dance steps that are unconventional or not widely used but has roots in other dance styles like: lyrical, ballet, jazz, modern, or contemporary. Dancers who are performing to a spoken word piece will often use dramatic clapping or sharp and clean movement. Many dancers will perform in large or small groups, depending on what the topic is of the spoken word.
Most spoken word dance pieces are hard to perform because the dancer has to know when the narrator says a specific word that corresponds with a specific dance step. For example, the narrator might say “I jumped higher than the mountains,” and a dancer would leap across the stage with a sense of pride in their face. Or the narrator might say, “And I saw the world ablaze with sadness, waiting for happiness to extinguish it, ” and the dancer would fall to their knees crying and another dancer would go to them and spread happiness to that dancer and the rest of the dancers.
Some people interpret the dance part of it as a language, while the person speaking is like the music. Usually, the person who is speaking also displays emotion through their tone of voice. The person who is speaking is the storyteller, but the dancer is the one who is going a step further to visualize the narrator’s emotions through certain movements.