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  • Foto van schrijverPieter Derycke

Notes & Quotes - There is no movement without rhythm

I’d like you to watch and listen to this movie. It will take 10 minutes, but I promise you will not be dissapointed.

This short movie captures a lot of my interests: movement, rhythm and music, Africa and some anthropology. This alone is a reason to share it.

(This video also made me think about another favorite movie of mine. Catherine Desteville solo climbing on the cliffs in Mali, with a Dogon man playing a groovy trompet!)

Of course dancing is the obvious link between movement and rhythm. Dancing is surely natural and aboriginal. Dance is a human universal. Ancestrally speeking, humans danced, not to acquire food, not to fight with predators*, not to build shelter, and not to travel to a new hunting ground. In a way, dancing is non functional. However, in darwinian fitness terms, dance probably had more social and spiritual roles, being performed in rituals and celebrations. Natural movement enthousiast should probably dance more!

But like in the short movie, everything is rhythm. There is no life without rhythm. Movement is rhythm.

The word ‘rhythm’ comes from ancient greek ῥυθμός, rhythmos, meaning ‘measured flow or movement’. In latin ‘rhythmus’ means ‘movement in time’. Rhythm is also related to the old greek word ‘rheĩn’ which means ‘to flow’.

So there is a very strong connection between rhythm and movement, and, as the etymology of the word ‘rhythm’ shows, not only in West-African culture.

How do your movements sound? Is the rhythm smooth, or staccato? Do you have a thumping baseline? A smooth groove? Do you move like a New Orleans ‘second line’? Do your moves evoke African polyrhythmic percussion sounds? More like be-bop or a throbbing techno beat? Played with brushes or hickory drumsticks?

I’d like my movements to be like the drumming of Ziggy Modeliste: incredibly funky, creative, unique, somehow more round than square, and all over the place!

And since quoting Henry David Thoreau is always appropriote: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

Movement is life. Movement is rhythm. Life is rhythm!


* Some people probably could dance away fierce predators.


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