Let's sharpen the pencil a bit. In Dance Matters, Part 1 I talked about how dance is more than an art form, it's the expression, artistry, and often historical record of the people that carved their form of dance into existence. I also compared dance to a language, a form of communication, of storytelling. Knowing one language or only reading one book is a fraction of light shining in a complex kaleidoscope of culture and history. I'm pretty sure not everyone dances the same. In the words of Deborah Hay an experimental choreographer and postmodern dancer, "Why not loosen things up a bit and play with the possibilities?" But how can we do that if we don't also support diverse programming? I think about how much dance has to offer when we can meet another culture through their dance art. It's a form of a listening, and listening fosters empathy, increased awareness, and raises consciousness. Those all sound pretty good to me.
Dance taught me about the world, about a portion of history, about other cultures, and about my own, in ways a text or a lecture could never do. Because it’s not just dance. It’s the woven histories of the people who carved their art-form into existence, and those weren't always joyous origins. To know your ‘family’ lineage as a dancer is part of honoring the history just as much as the form itself. As a young dancer, I was aware of the cultural legacy that Jazz, for example, holds in our country's narrative, and that’s only one in the entire world! I think about how Flamenco, Russian Character, Hip Hop, that one Krump class, Swing, Butoh, and so many other styles of dance have made an impression on how I interpret the world beyond my little bubble.