Like any good story, ボールルームへよこそ (“Welcome to Ballroom”) presents an immediate problem. The anime follows the life of a middle school boy named Tatara Fujita as he struggles with his own insecurities because he is drawn inexplicably to learn to dance, yet the social culture around him does not accept dance as a reasonable career path nor having any benefit for the future, especially in the life of a young student.
Welcome to Ballroom
Tatara finds himself ashamed of his desire to dance and often trying to hide it, even though his innate honesty seems to prevent him from being able to lie by pretending to have a more ‘acceptable’ passion.
Despite his shyness, Tatara finds himself unable to fight the draw of learning to dance, and before he has time to even think about it, he goes all in to request to be instructed, even though he has no money to afford the lessons, and no outside support for his newfound passion. He decides almost subconsciously that he wants to be a professional Ballroom dancer, and on his first lesson, he practiced all night, even until his feet blistered.
1. Dance is Passionate
Sometimes there are things that can ignite passion in people the way nothing else can.
Through no conscious logic or reasoning, sometimes you just know when something is right, when something is vital for making you feel truly alive. Though it is not limited to this one example, dance is certainly a master art that has touched millions of lives more deeply than most other hobbies or activities ever could.
Dance goes beyond two-dimensional or even three-dimensional expression, it reaches into the very core of one’s being and draws out the essence of what lies within. The sound of the music penetrates the mind and heart until it becomes part of you, guiding and prompting every movement in beautiful harmony.
In Ballroom dance, this harmony is further enhanced by bringing two individuals’ rhythmic personalities and blending them into a new song within the song. The song that can be seen and felt beyond the music. The movement that seems to have a mind of its own, as you relax and let it take over, releasing the spirit of joy, unity, flow, and beauty in a 3-5 minute journey across the dance floor. Each journey taken with a new partner who, at the moment of the first dance step, seems closer than a friend.
2. Dance is Powerful
Dance has a power to free us and reveal us in ways that words could never express. In those moments with your dance partner, you are both at your most vulnerable and yet, the most free to be yourself in a way that complements each other and protects one another. Nowhere else can you touch a complete stranger in such a safe and beautiful way, creating moving art together and coming away almost knowing that person better than anyone with whom you merely spoke words.
Dance is living art. Ballroom dance is a cultural haven of artistic expression and tradition passed down through centuries, with glorious renown among royalty and nobles, down to the lowest class workers, because such beautiful expressions of the human image is a treasure to all.
So, it is the greatest misfortune for any society to turn its back upon Ballroom, or any kind of dance, because to deny the value of dance is to deny a treasure of the soul.
3. Dance is Worth The Courage to Begin
For the analysts and intellectuals who wish for scientific evidence of the value of dance, such evidence does exist. Dance has a variety of health, growth, and productivity benefits, mentally, physically, and emotionally. But if you want to truly understand the value of dance, then you must allow yourself to be immersed in the experience of it. Get out of your head for a moment and let your body speak, with music as a guide, and you will be shocked at the exhilaration and relief it brings, as it frees you, even if just for that moment, from all the stresses of life.
Never look down on someone who wants to dance, because they have chosen an excellent path, and it will fill them with the joy of life! In the anime, Tatara may be off to a difficult start in his dance experience, but judging from personal experience, I would guess he is going to become incredibly confident and empowered by continuing to practice dance.
Won’t you also adopt his courage to begin and experience the joy of dance? Never let fear stop you from dancing, for life itself is a dance!