Have you seen the Joker dance? As the new movie blockbuster shows us the story behind franchise’s No.1. villain we love to hate, we even find some compassion for his broken former self, before he transforms into the carnevalesque master of mayhem ceremonies and steps into his full villainhood. The pieces of this sad overlooked broken man, a well-meaning not yet cruel trickster, at once unravel pushed by the society around him, leaving no option but shriveling and dying in meaninglessness or fighting back. So he gets pushed to the point where he fights, maybe for the first time in his life and a grinning hysterical laughter, as a distorted flaw and a psychological self-defense mechanism of distancing from the horrors, becomes something much more ominous – an overture signaling integration of the darkest parts, this time uncensored by the overarching structure and its rules.
And as the completely unraveled (anti)hero staggers into a public bathroom terrified, shocked and fragmented after his first kill, instead of hiding the gun, panicking, washing away his makeup and staring at his reflection in the grimy bathroom mirror as was supposed to be in the original scene, the soft music by Hildur Guðnadóttir starts playing. The sad character you pitied in an instant becomes whole before your eyes, letting his true nature out for the first time. You can see the change in the face. It becomes far less naive, a burden is lifted and there is calm composure, joy, self-control, freedom, hardening and softening of the self all at once, the posture changes, the battered skinny body starts feeling like his own. The first thing he does after stepping into his nature, when Arthur Fleck truly embodies Joker, is dance. It’s not just a dance, it’s a rewriting of the body and brain into a new form, a completely hypnotic sequence where the violence and darkness of previous events gives birth to something so beautifully primal, geisha like, clean, measured, intense yet gentle, the instinctive tribal grounded and ephemeral movements telling their own story of liberation and peace in action.
Not approving the violence and taking the connotations of mental illness and abuse from the movie into consideration, the point was the dance itself. The integration of the emotional and physical body we forget while chasing things with clenched jaws, forced to sit for hours on end, using our bodies as tools to only serve us much more than as gifts to be enjoyed. There is a body-brain feedback loop. As the Joker danced filled by new emotional release the pathway goes backwards as well and it is possible to use kinesthetic to heal all kinds of things going through the body and working inwards, it’s possible to change things just by changing the way we move, by introducing graceful movement, body language, asana and movement. We can move ourselves to emotionally and mentally healthy. In fact you should, this is what we were made to do. Even if you have no appreciation for Joker as a fictional character, you can extract something valuable from the story of integration his body told on the big screen. One of the deepest and most profound scenes you’ll ever see. And you may even catch nuances we never did depending what you needed to learn at that moment. Music and dance are integration – so today, you dance.