The Between Dance And The Self

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Within Fish Tank, performance serves a multitude of functions. For one, characters in the film define themselves in relation to dance, and performance as a whole is presented as an outlet and a means to attain freedom. Yet, the relationship between dance and the self is also antithetical as, whilst individual characters escape social definition through the act of dance, the act itself defines them. This can be seen especially in relation to the female identity that is imposed with sexual objectivity through dance. However, dance also operates in a figurative sense, Mia, dances with the idea of reinvention, escape and of learning the steps to life. Overall, dance is presented as being highly important to the exploration and attainment…show more content…
However, Mia’s lack of talent for dancing establishes a sense of futility regarding her escape. Nonetheless, Mia’s desire to dance reflects her broad desire to express herself creatively.

Mia’s desire to escape social constraint is further revealed through her attempt to connect to the ‘Black American’ culture. Mia’s dance moves and music choices create an interesting dynamic to her self expression, for example, Mia’s burgeoning connection to Connor is revealed through her choice to dance to his favourite song. Further, as Mia dances in front of the television in her kitchen, she does so to an African-American pop-song, featuring street dance (0.13.19). Mia’s copying of the dance moves is emblematic of her attempt to re-construct and re-define her identity. The..cultural..messages..that..she..receives from the television, dance and music therefore, are presented as being key in Mia’s process of self-discovery. Connor’s comment ‘You dance like a black’ is intended as a compliment, yet reveals further Mia’s attempt to construct her identity out of cultural fragments. Broadly, through dance, and ‘performing’ aspects of African-American street culture, Mia’s powerful desire to escape societal constraint is made apparent. Mia’s attempt to connect with a world different to her own, is emblematic of Mia’s attempt to seek freedom.

Whilst allowing Mia to escape, dance allows Mia to reconcile the conflict within her life, particularly in her family
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