Re-Define the Meaning of Dance in the Dictionary

Re-Define the Meaning of Dance in the Dictionary

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Nina Jane Patel
Nina Jane Patel signed this petition

The current definition of dance does not acknowledge why we dance and how it makes us feel.  

Dance is currently defined as:

1. Move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps.  
1. A series of steps and movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music.

(more detail on OED's definition of dance)

(more detail on Merriam-Webster's definition of dance)


The creative expression of humanity, society and culture through the body.  Physical experience of human emotion for personal expression and social connection.


Dance is not about learning steps, a style or technique. Dance is any movement the body chooses to make, a physical expression that words cannot express. For all human beings, dance is a way to learn and communicate. As babies we relate to our caregivers through movement and physical contact. As children we continue to learn through movement. All movement is dance; our physical connection to others and non-verbal communication - a life long dance with the world.

The body contributes far more to our lives than just physical attributes such as strength and endurance - it plays a major role in emotions, learning and relationships. The body is intimately involved in all our thought processes, understanding, emotions and decision making.

Why is Re-Defining Dance Important?

Movement is the expression of ourselves in the world. Movement open doors to connecting beyond barriers and impacts social change on levels we cannot comprehend.  

In a world where technological advancement allows for instant global connections, we are becoming increasingly disembodied. This gives rise to “dis-ease” in our physical, emotional and intellectual selves. In order to experience life to it’s fullest, it is important to keep in touch with our moving selves.  We are not advocating a specific movement technique or practice. It is about re-discovering that we are all born knowing how to dance. 

By re-defining dance, we give it back to people, it is not something that is unattainable, we can all experience the freedom of dance.

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