They have this line, “Are we human, or are we dancer?” There’s actually a story behind the song. The Killers made it in response to a quote, “America is raising a generation of dancers.” This is how I see it (a bit difference from the original interpretation). This is a disparaging comment. America is making dancers! Dancers are awesome at, like, dancing, but otherwise they’re useless! So the Killers turn this around, the imaginary person assailed by the quote having a crisis of identity, Am I human, or am I dancer (am I useless)? To me, this symbolizes what’s happening in our education system. Students come to school with great ideas, great plans, and then the people in the school say: No, stop dancing. You have to do this.
In other words, our schools are educating us out of creativity, one of the most essential aspects of intelligence.
Creativity is as important as literacy and should be given the same status.
-Ken Robinson, on Ted Talk
Here’s Ken Robinson’s story I always think about when I hear this song:
Gillian Lynne is a world-famous choreographer, she did “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera.” When she was in school, her teacher wrote home, “Gillian has a learning disability.” Her parents took her to the doctor. Gillian listened to the mother’s concerns, then told Gillian, “I’ve listened to all these things that you mother’s told me, and I need to speak with her privately. Wait here.” They left, but he turned the radio on as he did so, and they watched through the window. Gillian got up and started moving to the music. The doctor told Gillian’s mother, “Gillian isn’t sick. She’s a dancer. Take her to dance school.”
Smart people think alike: Albert Einstein said, imagination is more important than knowledge.