Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dance Needs You! (Or, rather, you need dance?)

I have been thinking a lot recently about the nature of dance and its need for stronger community support.  And, I am not talking about TV produced Dance reality shows. Obviously. 

I am talking about the little fish in the pond, the smaller buggers that put their life and soul into their art and often receive little to no community support outside of their immediate friends and family. 

But, I realized that the issue is not that dance needs people, but that people need dance.  I need dance. You need dance. Our society needs dance. But, why? 

We are forgetting.

We are forgetting how important it is to be in communion with our fellow community members. We are forgetting what it feels like to dance in harmony, to dance in unison, as one body, with one common trust in our own humanity.   We are forgetting just how it feels to be present in the moment without competition, without an audience, without an applause meter or a phone line voting system.  We are forgetting how it feels to be in the body with others who are in their own skins, breathing, sensing, moving, relating.  Dance isn't just about moving to move.  It is about our ability to cultivate relationships in motion.  To release our own sense of identity in order to partake in a larger body. 

I learned just recently about a beautiful Global dance that happened today.  Initiated my Martha Eddy, the Global Water Dance is a dance in celebration for all beings, of all cultures, in all locations.  This is an example of how dance (and music) transcends all barriers.  How dance is a safe and open invitation for all people to simply participate in being human by moving together in harmony. 

I am tired of dance as spectacle.  I am tired of dance for the privileged.  Dance for the stars. Dance for competition. Dance can serve all people in increasing their quality of life, in their quality of being human. 

When was the last time you danced?  At a wedding? In your living room? In a dance studio?  Have you forgotten? 

 And, this is not to point blame at you.  I believe the active dance world is as much to blame.  I suspect that the dance world may have encouraged you to forget.

And, what I mean by this is the tendency I see for the "dance world" to make work that is either "light entertainment" or "inaccessible art."  What are your impressions of concert dance?  When was the last dance show you attended in person? Why did you go? What did you get out of it?  Please comment because I actually want to know!  I suspect that most people who attend live dance concerts go because they know someone in the performance.  They go to show their support. This is admirable and much appreciated, however I would rather people come to be inspired! To rediscover themselves through the experience of watching live dance. To be enriched as individuals making their ways through the world.

I am convinced that there is concert dance in this world that is both artistic and enjoyable. And, I intended to keep making dances until I find that balance.  Until the audience remembers that seeing dance can increase their enjoyment of life and the richness in their understanding of themselves as humans in this world. 

And, I will know I have succeeded when I see strangers take the risk to see dance performances in their local towns and return to their homes and friends with stories of how they feel more alive and more "inside their skin". . . and how they couldn't resist dancing in their hearts out in their living room.

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