What Makes a Dancer?

Is it the sacrifice? The existential feeling of “losing oneself” to the music? Or is it the approximate timing that creates the dancer…?

Many individuals and various groups have attempted to create a label for what makes a dancer great. In fact, this is one of the reasons for several different competitions, meets, and battles (from a hip hop point of view).

Bboy Battle

If you were to talk with a younger, more naive version of myself, I would be able to tell you the best up and coming dancers and the ones to watch out for in both the local scene and the national scene. Now, however, this statement comes with a grain of salt.


My beliefs have changed. Evolved. I’ve grown up.

Dancing is essentially a form of self-expression, and to pit your individual form of self-expression against another person is to immediately compare your own differences, experiences, and view on the world, and try to make it seem as if you are better than another individual.

I would have to argue that while competitions are meant just for that reason, it takes a lot of humility to understand that dancing as an art form is a non-zero sum “game.”

A zero-sum game is also called a strictly competitive game while 

non-zero-sum games can be either competitive or non-competitive.

-Source: wikipedia.com

If there are two dancers from a local scene, and they are still developing (because let’s be honest, if you’re not developing then you’re stagnating), how do these two dancers compare to dancers on a national or even global level?

Rhetorical questions aside, the purpose of competitions is to truly make yourself and just yourself a better dancer.

If, as a dancer, your experiences, points of views, along with your own style, are being pitted against another, who is there to truly say your moves are better than another’s?

R16 Battle

Judging can also be viewed as largely subjective, namely for the fact that an individual’s points of views can be skewed for many many reasons.

If a judge has a good day, bad day, has had coffee, or has had no sleep because they traveled from so far, who is to say that they are being as objective as they can be?


What makes a dancer?

Is it the expression they have on their face when dancing? Is it how they ultimately make you feel when you watch them? Is it the crowd awing athletic movements they perform?

And unlike many other posts that attempt to group and categorize what makes a dancer truly great, I’m going to leave this open-ended. It would go against the very essence of this post to include a definition of something, that in reality, can’t be so easily defined.

You have so many different variations of dancers, and with the advent of Facebook videos, viral YouTube videos, competitive talent shows on TV, and many other avenues for people to find dancers, the definition of great dancers will continue to be loosely defined.

So to end with all of these Devil Advocate related questions, I bring to you this ultimate question:

What makes you dance the way you do…?

As always,

Keep it funky.


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