Dance is a performance art form that involves a series of movements that can sometimes match the rhythm of music. It is practiced in many different forms for many different purposes. Dance can be perceived differently for these purposes, which include social, educative, therapeutic, and aesthetic purposes. It is important to touch upon the aesthetics of dance in order to understand why and how it does or does not matter to us. It is when we come to this conclusion that we can connect to the dancers themselves and how the world of dance can ultimately affect them.

The overall essence of dance is representative. Dance can represent a story, an emotion, or a person, but I will be focusing on how dance can misinterpret the role of the dancer themselves. The relationship between body and mind depicts the misrepresentation of the overall aesthetic of a performance and therefore, the aesthetic of the dancer.

I believe the aesthetic of dance is generally subjective because the sense of emotion evoked by a performance can and will vary amongst the group of people that comprise the audience. What can be interpreted as fear by someone can be interpreted as happiness by another. “The Aesthetics of Dance” by David Best opposes this idea. Best criticizes the argument that “my impression is precisely my impression and no one else’s and therefore, my impression of the dance is purely subjective” (12). However, I believe this is a completely valid argument. An audience will be forced to approach and perceive a performance in a certain way if dance is supposed to be purely objective. By saying that dance should not be subjectively interpreted, the general public will feel inclined to accept limited aspects of the performance. All aspects of the performance contribute to the overall message the choreographers are attempting to convey, not just selective aspects of the performance.

A performance in its entirety consists of intricate costumes, spacing, lighting, and choreography. The choreography refers to the way a body moves to portray a message or feeling. Choreographers are looking for specific bodies to fit into the costumes of their choice and portray messages very specifically. For example, one can argue that ballet is not about the meaningful expression, but instead about the beauty of the body performing. If this entire performance as a whole should be objectively interpreted, people will believe the performers need to look a certain way. Dance is indeed subjective because if only certain bodies and movements can cause certain effects, then dancers will try to fit into this societal mold and possibly end up with eating disorders.


Best, David. “The Aesthetics of Dance.” Dance Research Journal, vol. 7, no. 2, 1975, pp. 12–15.