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Humans versus Dancer - Writers Nook

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Let me know what you think and how you feel about it. :P

The small space of room, set in a dim yellow lighting is filled with the low murmurs of the patrons and clinks of the heavy drinking glasses handled by the servers. Silence falls quickly as the dark room grows darker, a single light illuminating from the stage that takes up more space from the room that it can afford to. Exactly 8 seconds after the hush falls through, the heavy curtains, made out of so many different fabrics and colours that it becomes a show itself, parts like smooth waves. Not a single sound emits from the audience, their backs erect and their faces filled with nothingness. The glasses have stopped clinking and the serves are frozen in their spots, with the same blank faces and stiff postures.

On the stage, whose finely carved wooden borders have already started to fade from its colour, a lone dancer stands with his head turned towards the ground. Scarily lanky, his legs stand sturdy while crossed, forming a shape of a capital 'D'. There is no applause, just silence. The air, vacant, remained vacant, not awkward but vacant.

When he looks up and uncrosses his legs, a tight line appears on his lips but his eyes remain as blank as those others in the room. Three bodies file in from his left and another three, on his right. Their outfits are all completely different from another, in pattern, colour and textured and bright colours seep into the stage as the six take onto the stage. Only the lanky man is dressed dully in colour, in a greyish suit, not fancy but not plain. The others have thin strings that fall from the sky tied to their elbows and knees.

A single key from the piano rings out and the man in grey pulls up his right hand, followed by his left and then follows a sequence of plain steps. A whole but precise second later, the others follow, not stretching or lagging even one single move. The six colourful dancers closely follow the actions of the suited man for a whole minute and the curtain falls back down. Applause fills the room and 60 seconds after, the room is departed, empty.

In some other universe or reality, a new man might emerge on stage, dressed in his own colour, with emotions spilling through his pores and eyes. He would watch the other man and laugh, and then proceed to push him away and display his own dance, and leave, having known his dance by heart.

Hunter S. Thompson, raised a comment on America raising a generation of dancers once. He addressed the problem where people lived with insecure opinions and yielded to the fear of marching to their own beat. The comment ended up with no recognition and failed to kindle much of its purpose and meaning in the clogged minds of the Americans. Only after a track, released by a Las Vegas rock band, the Killers, did the idea finally managed to draw a point; not only to the people in America but to the rest of world as well.

The famous line from the track's chorus, "Are we human, or are we dancer?", quotes Thompson closely. In most ways, the song baffled many, with its hidden true meaning and apparent grammatical error. In the beginning, mixed interpretations were made based on the song. Various groups of people saw it as a love song or a song about dying. Despite it all, only after an interview with Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the Killers and songwriter of "Human", an explanation cleared up all confusion.

"I really care what people think but people don't seem to understand 'Human.' They think it's nonsense. But I was aching over those lyrics for a very long time to get them right," Flowers stressed on this point during his Rolling Stones interview in November 2008. One of the main source of confusion was the grammatically-incorrect word, "dancer" as the word continued to be mistaken for "denser". Brandon Flowers further expresses his frustration, "I don't like, 'Are we denser?' as an alternative. I guess it bothers people that it's not grammatically correct, but I think I'm allowed to do whatever I want."

Used as an ambiguous word, "dancer" remains as an appropriate word in its singular form when the song is thoroughly explored for its intended meaning. A simple question transforms into a statement, highlighting the way most of the world is living.

Are we human, or are we dancer?

In the chorus, 'human' represents self-made men; people capable of their own thoughts, decisions and opinions whereas dancer represent puppets, while the whole song is set to defy convention. You are either a man who is someone free as an individual, or someone living with the same lifestyle shared by you and your neighbours. The lyrics addresses the growing issue of people all over the world today, conforming to the same identity of every other man. What seems unclear is the exact audience that the song is referring to. Is the song referring to people living by rules, afraid of breaking them and ruining the mould or is it referring to the people making decisions and forming opinions based upon trends?

Let us say that it does deliver the idea of society and the tendency of theirs to live by trends. The concept of trends is no stranger, especially to the 21st century. Whether in form of fashion, music or lifestyle, trends haunts the majority of people today. Should people make decisions based on what others are making as well? Should they like Lady Gaga and iPhones just because that is the rage of today's generations?

Individuality is ripped off from each of these people's names and identities the moment they commit to these trend so willingly. They become 'dancer'. Why exactly is it 'dancer' instead of 'dancers'? In singular, 'dancer' emphasizes the lack of individuality and how the puppets are so alike that they deserve to be addressed as just 'dancer'. 'Dancers', on the other hand, represents more than one and to Flowers, it seemed less appropriate if he did used the term instead of his grammatically-incorrect chosen one.

When it comes to in terms of 'dancer' becoming those who live under tight rules and laws, set by society and the governments of their homelands, it changes the approach to the song just slightly. The puppeteer would be the ones who make the rules and the puppets strings as the rules itself. Social stigmas or expected behavior could replace these laws and rules but it does, all the same, control the puppets, making them nothing more than wooden figures, dancing to the puppeteers desired beats. With this, there comes insufficient space for freedom and self-opinions but the song explains that a person can escape the role of a dancer when he makes the choice to do so.

Humans, capable of reasoning, problem solving and abstracts thoughts were given these abilities, not to be told what to do or to follow every move another person makes but to come up with the type of person that he or she truly is. 'Dancer' is a label far worse than any other trend can come up with. Is it not worth more being a misfit or a loner compared to a dancer? Is an attractive person who speaks of only what he is told, more worthy than a person who converse what he knows although it could possibly be something said from a rather odd perspective?

The underlying reality is that only a handful of people would humbly admit and address this issue. Trends may play the largest part of their lives but the rest of the world are oblivious to its effects, most likely to only escape the truth of their unfortunate reality. Is being a "dancer" a bad thing? Could George Orwell's 1984 universe answer that?

So, are we human, or are we dancer?


clinks of the heavy drinking glasses handled by the servers. Silence falls quickly as the dark room grows darker

No need to say, "Heavy drinking" glasses...just "clinking of glasses"

"...dark room grows darker." Find another adverb or adjective: both together sound repetitive.

"Exactly 8 seconds after the hush falls through, the heavy curtains, made out of so many different fabrics and colours that it becomes a show itself, parts like smooth waves.'' Awkward. READ YOUR ESSAY OUT LOUD TO YOURSELF (old writer's trick.)

ServeRS...spelling (HAVE YOU RUN SPELL CHECK?)

That's just the first paragraph. Don't really have time to go thru every sentence/paragraph.

2nd paragraph:
"The air, vacant, remained vacant, not awkward but vacant." 3 "vacants" in one sentence?

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED JOINING A LOCAL WRITER'S GROUP. Everyone reads everyone else's material and you learn from each other.


"Applause fills the room and 60 seconds after, the room is departed, empty."
The room can't go anywhere -- people depart, not a room. You could say, e.g., the audience departed, leaving the room empty" or words to that effect.

"Hunter S. Thompson, raised a comment on America raising a generation of dancers once..." Same problem here. RAISED twice!

Also, you use an European spelling of "color." In the US, no "u" in "color" (e.g., Colour.")

"Let us say that it does deliver the idea of society and the tendency of theirs to live by trends" -- why say, "Let us say..." -- just SAY IT!

I sense by your writing that English might not have been your first language. You still write well, but many of your phrasings sound awkward...not clear...and I think you might not be using the proper descriptives as at times it's hard to understand precisely what your point is. THIS WILL CLEAR UP with more READING...and feedback from ENGLISH TEACHERS at a local school (or writers' group.)

One example: "the governments of their homelands." Awkward phrasing. How about, "by their native governments" or perhaps even better, just "by governments."

Is this a paper for a class? It sort of reads like that.

YOU HAVE GOOD THOUGHTS...I "think" I understand what you're trying to say, but it's far from smooth...nor easy to comprehend.

Needs work on the grammar, particularly your use of adjectives and adverbs.

Nice work though.


uhm haha, this is awkward.

English is my first language. Yes, this is an academic essay for my college course. I'm taking a Canadian University Level English which makes it a lot more awkward for me.

Perhaps my ethnicity proposes the idea that I am not fluent but I assure you that I have had some writing experiences.

I don't ace my English essays very often, although I get A's in the overall subject. My essay received a B+ in my O-Levels exam but I ace the whole exam nevertheless.

I speak British English, as the Canadians do and so, I spell 'colour' as 'colour'. I'm using some rhetorical devices such as repetition. In my classes, we are encouraged to do so, emphasizing on a certain idea or point as we do. (for example, 'vacant' is purposely repeated.) My introduction is written awkwardly to provide the hanging and uncomfortable feel to the beginning. My style of story-telling there inserts a whole new idea in a perpective not widely used. Yes, I admit that I did not spell check it. It's not the final copy that I've submitted here so I'd expect the changes to have been absent in this copy.


To be honest, Elizabeth, I did NOT even notice your ethnicity. But then, I'm 1/4 Asian and lived in Tokyo and Seoul while in middle and high school, so I'm not judgemental myself. I was going STRICTLY by how you wrote!

Again, as I've mentioned to other on here, I am N-O-T a non-fiction writer -- strictly a journalist. My personal goal is to write essays/personal stories for magazines...and get paid for it (I've been published many times, but never paid: strictly wrote for newspapers and magazines in my PR job.)

Sounds like you need to get feedback among your fellow writers or a writers' group in your home area.

Who knows: as someone who plans to live 3-to-5 years in Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam are the countries that I want to visit before making up my mind.) I'll probably teach English.

Take care.


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