Play with Your Body. ~ Cassandra Smith

Via elephant journal
on May 15, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer made the discovery that the original meaning of the word “play” (spiel) is dance.

As I get older, I’m noticing that there is less and less time available for me to play. There is less time to be goofy, to take risks, to laugh, to embrace silliness. In the grown-up world, serious efficiency often takes the place of playful creativity. I’ve found the best way to escape the rigid feeling I get from too many hours in front of a computer screen is to dance. I take at least a half hour everyday to blast music in my apartment and dance like no one is watching.

Playing through dance isn’t only a way to blow off steam. It’s also a way to reconnect with the world around you.

When we dance, we use our bodies as instruments of play and attune ourselves to the perpetual change inherent in nature. When we dance, the distinction between subject and object becomes confused in the movement of the dancing body. When we dance, our mind and body acknowledge and manifest their unique and intimate relationship.

As William Butler Yeats asked,

“How can we know the dancer from the dance?”


“Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts. For it is no mere translation or abstraction of life. It is life itself.”

~ Henry Havelock Ellis


 “If we seek the real source of the dance, if we go to nature, we find that the dance of the future is the dance of the past, the dance of eternity, and has been and always will be the same…

The movement of waves, of winds, of the earth is ever the same lasting harmony.”

~ Isadora Duncan

The next time you feel disconnected, remember your ability to play. Let your body experiment with all of the different ways it can move. Don’t be afraid to look silly, this is about changing how you feel. Playfulness is a part of the human experience; we shouldn’t be ashamed or scared of bringing it to life.

“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.”  ~ Japanese Proverb

Bonus: Next-level dance…



Cassandra Smith is an editorial intern at elephant journal.  She is a fifth generation Colorado native who believes dance has the potential to liberate human consciousness from its cultural prison.  Cassandra formerly trained at Boston Ballet and is currently a senior at University of Colorado Boulder studying journalism, sociology and philosophy. Read her blog at


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of Questions? info elephantjournal com


14 Responses to “Play with Your Body. ~ Cassandra Smith”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Love this!!!

  2. Eric says:

    "..less time to be goofy, to take risks, to laugh, to embrace silliness." ~ and this is when hearts begin to shrivel and dry up.
    (yes, I am a fool–dancing or not!! 🙂

    Thanks for another great article Cassie!!

  3. […] Play with Your Body. ~ Cassandra Smith ( 42.393515 -71.256640 Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedInPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  4. […] can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of […]

  5. […] and encouragement from the stage. I broke a sweat just sitting in my happy chair, wisely acknowledging my limits, supremely content to merely watch. […]

  6. […] that feeling you have when you go somewhere and feel like that’s where you belong? When you do something that your body simply seems made to do? When you meet someone who you have no idea how you lived without […]

  7. […] that feeling you have when you go somewhere and feel like that’s where you belong? When you do something that your body simply seems made to do? When you meet someone who you have no idea how you lived without […]

  8. […] childhood idol, Isadora Duncan, never hesitated to move onto uncharted territory in her quest to find freedom in the dance. Yes, […]

  9. […] Seriously, this works every time. Just get your whole body into a vibrato, shaking and moving each and every part of it. It’s very hard, impossible actually, to remain serious and stiff, when you’re literally shaking your whole body. The first time I did this, I couldn’t believe how incredibly loose and free I felt. And it’s worked every time since, so shake it, shake it, shake it. […]

  10. […] Life danced me, shifting me in spirited ways and necessary means that my mortal self would never give herself permission to imagine, […]

  11. […] on. Let’s play. Let’s play like we like each other. Like we love each other the way we love the glory of the […]

Leave a Reply