Foregone Conclusions

I bet you never realized that dance is similar to science. How so, you might say? In science, a hypothesis is not conclusive evidence. It is a proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. In order for a scientist to succeed in bringing his work to fruition, he must have concrete evidence and proof of its existence. There is a lot of trial and error that goes along with it. Science cannot depend on foregone conclusions and neither can dancers!

So what is a foregone conclusion? It is a conclusion, opinion, or decision formed in advance of proper consideration of evidence. It is hyperbole, rhetoric, and talk, with no action. Dance is very much like science, in that, it must be present and evident to exist. Just like there is no egg before the chicken, there is no dance without the dancer. No amount of wishing and hoping without evidence of precision will get you anywhere in science or dance and said another way, “the science of dance.”

You cannot achieve success as a great dancer without the element of hard work and time spent perfecting your craft. You also can’t assume you will be a professional dancer because your sister is one. It just doesn’t work that way. Actually, foregone conclusions can work pretty well for you (at least initially) when you apply for a job (not science or dance) where an employer reads your resume and assumes/decides that you are the right person for the job. This is a case where foregone conclusions work to one’s advantage. The employer forms an opinion based on prior results on paper and hopes for the best. Not in a million years, would that ever work in dance. No resume in the world will speak for you. You must audition, you must be excellent and you must be living proof without a shadow of a doubt, that you are magic on your feet! There is no foregone conclusion in the world of dance, only existence of truth through perfection.

Many times in dance or life, we follow paths that have already been laid out for us well in advance. That is life’s own way of foregone conclusions moving us along. We know we must learn to crawl before we learn to walk. It is important to get an education. Most of us experience our parents and teachers being very involved in our schooling through the years. As dancers, you may start out with basic dance classes, then private lessons, then eventually participate in local dance contests. Sometimes on these paths, we kind of follow, often blindly, because others want us to, they think that’s what we “should be doing.” Maybe your mom wants you to be a ballerina but you really like ballroom dancing and would rather concentrate on that. Hopefully, your love for dance will take you exactly where you want to be. But a lot of times, foregone conclusions get in the way, until twists of fate intercept and lead us in the direction that is meant for us to be taken.

I’d like to tell you a story about my friend Adrienne. As a small child, Adrienne knew she enjoyed people and really wanted to do something in her life that would help people. Adrienne learned to Sign (Sign Language) at a very young age because she thought it would come in handy one day. Adrienne’s mother used to be an actress and dancer on Broadway when she was young and always dreamed that her daughter would follow in her footsteps. Adrienne had to take singing lessons, dancing lessons and acting lessons practically her whole young life. Adrienne was also very beautiful. So it was a foregone conclusion that her beauty, and years of training would make her very successful. But it was not to be. Poor Adrienne struggled with her mother’s preconceived notions until the end of her mother’s life. Adrienne was forced to live her mother’s dream. I’m happy to say that Adrienne was able to eventually be the person she was meant to be and ended up working for the National Association for the Deaf in California. She is very happy helping people and doing the work she loves to do.

Ironically, I always wished I could be like Adrienne. I admired her beauty and I wished that I had a mother who could afford to give me lessons in music and dance. But as you can see, we are all born different from each other – no two people are alike. We are here to discover who we are at our own pace. There is room for trial and error, adjustments and living our own dream without foregone conclusions getting in our way. I wish for you, what you wish for yourself!

Thought Of The Week:

What is success? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace. – Paulo Coelho



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website