Tag Archives: Belongingness

Belongingness – Great Music and Dance

In my previous two posts I talked about how great paintings and great poetry can depict the feelings that we all share when our belongingness needs are being satisfied by being with friends and family.

I would like to present several pieces of great music and dance that depict similar feelings of attachment and belonging, as only the great masters can illustrate.

Just sit back and enjoy the artists’ interpretations of those who have achieved a sense of belongingness or connection with others.  As with the paintings and poetry of the two previous posts, you can really sense the gift of being with others and its positive impact on each of us.

The Entertainer (Joplin, 1902)

This is one of the classics of ragtime, blending African American music styles with European forms and melodies.  It is one of the composer’s most memorable works and one easy to remember.  The work evokes a feeling of belongingness with other listeners.

Blue Danube Waltz (J. Strauss Jr., 1866)

This very recognizable waltz is played and danced to throughout the world on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  It connotes feelings of togetherness, playfulness, joy, hope for a better future, and a sense of a just society protecting its citizens.  It encourages listeners to select partners and dance to the waltz’s melody and beat.


The Nutcracker, Waltz of the Flowers (Choreography by Petipa and Ivanov, Music by Tchaikovsky, 1892)

This ballet, one of the composer’s most famous, is performed most often during the Christmas season.  This scene, also a waltz, evokes a sense of freedom from the issues of the everyday world, a belongingness with others, thanksgiving, celebration, and joy. 

In this scene, the two principal dancers, Clara and the Prince, are celebrating with the other dancers.  Their dance choreography is not as exposed as that of a pas de deux (duet), but they are nonetheless separate from the others on stage.  It is the pulling away from the others near the end of the scene that expresses the emergence of their desire to begin satisfying a new higher need within themselves.


Belongingness – Great Poetry

In my previous post I talked about how great art can depict the feelings that we all share when our belongingness needs are being satisfied by being with friends and family.

In this post I would like to present two poems.  Both of which use the art of poetry to express the same feelings that are expressed in the art of painting.

Friendship, verses 46-55 (Thoreau, 1840-1844)

Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,

Withstand the winter’s storm,

And spite of wind and tide,

Grow up the meadow’s pride,

For both are strong.

Above they barely touch, but undermined

Down to their deepest source,

Admiring you shall find

Their roots are intertwined


Many of the artist’s poems are concerned with issues expressed in his essays: nature, truth, and social justice.  This poem uses his love of nature to evoke the feelings of simple friendship.  This is a powerful interpretation of the desire to satisfy one’s need for belongingness with others.


I Hear America Singing, from Leaves of Grass (Whitman, 1867)

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off 

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand

Singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,

The woodcutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or

At noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of

The girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows,

Robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

The poem, one of Whitman’s most famous, presents an image of America as a collection of proud, individualistic, healthy and productive individuals.  The poem’s genius is that the individual songs are blended together to create a unified and strong America.  The poem provides a clear interpretation of belongingness and involvement, and the benefits of each to the individuals as well as society. 

Both of these poems depict the satisfaction of close friendships and ties to the community.  Both go a long way to accomplishing our need for belongingness.


Belongingness – Great Art

In several of my previous posts, I presented artworks that best represent the feelings of those that have had their physiological and safety needs met (the first two of Maslow’s needs at the bottom of his Hierarchy of Needs).  As such, they are able to move to the next level, one involving the need for belongingness.

Belongingness involves the desire to be with others in what I call “involvement” activities: clubs, civic groups, churches, hobby groups, family and loved ones, etc.  This need is best satisfied by friendships and the love of family.  It is how we belong as a “member in good standing.”

Below are two paintings, separated by time and class.  Nonetheless, the need for belongingness is being satisfied by all involved.  The feelings expressed in each work are nearly identical.  Even though one set of characters are peasants in a barn and others characters are well-to-do members of society on a boat, the experiences are the same.  These same experiences shared by all give us comfort that this need is universal and satisfied in a universal manner.

The Peasant Wedding by Bruegel

The Peasant Wedding (Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1566)







Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir

Luncheon of the Boating Party (Renoir, 1881)