It’s 1 May and on Imagination Matters we’re starting to explore a new theme: Empathy

Imagination helps us put ourselves in the minds of others, see things from their perspective and consider how our actions impact them. We’re delighted that Dame Darcey Bussell, DBE, who is our Imaginator for the theme of Empathy, has written a thoughtful examination of how dance is a medium for empathy and shared experience, and the vital need for these connections in a rapidly changing world, exclusively for Imagination Matters. As well as being one of the most famous British ballet dancers of all time, a former Principal at the Royal Ballet School, President of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), a judge on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and presenting The Royal Ballet’s worldwide cinema simulcasts, Darcey is founder a not-for-profit: Diverse Dance Mix (DDMIX).

DDMIX is a dance fitness program made up of over 30 genres including Japanese, the Haka, line dance, flamenco, the Charleston and even 1980s Rocky which introduces children to a variety of dance styles without being subject to exams. DDMIX focuses on dance diversity, fun and fitness – something we at the Institute of Imagination think is vitally important too!

Dance is a medium of expression, a physical representation of emotion. As a professional dancer it is essential to put yourself into the shoes of others, to empathise with a feeling or an emotion, in order to connect truthfully with an audience. Imagination plays an integral part in understanding how others might think and feel and how to convey that feeling through movement. By truly trying to empathise with others and imagining not only how they might feel but also how our actions and movements might make them feel, we can strive to be the best of ourselves and help many. Imagination Matters highlights what a crucial skill imagination is.

Read Darcey’s article ‘Empathy Through Dance, How Moving Together Bonds Us‘ on Imagination Matters.

A huge thank you to Darcey for sharing this article with us. Stay tuned for more articles and explorations into imagination and empathy!

Darcey Bussell sitting on a box

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