Thinking on how dance is outlawed in the USA leads me to wonder what I would do if on ‘the other side of the pond’ or if faced with same situation here?
The reflection on this led me to see how someone’s actions in the current climate can ‘create terrorism’. It’s a frightening thought how small actions lead us to a dangerous precipice.
The banning of ‘silent dance’ is akin to telling someone how he or she should feel and how that feeling manifests itself in a physical way.
Many contemporary choreographers have studied the fine line between everyday life and dance (titled ‘Social Choreography’). Where does life end and dance begin? If (stereotypically) a reserved Japanese person took on the dramatic hand gestures of an Italian at the Jefferson Memorial, would s/he be arrested? And in the case of the banning of such activities who decides? Are the police officers stationed at the parks and monuments trained on these nuances of dance?
I considered these thoughts, and started to (naturally) compose a piece of choreography that would challenge these notions, that fine line between dance and gesture. I could hire actors to play ‘regular tourists’ to film it. I might also place a nun in a habit with her rosary beads, a Muslim woman in headscarf with her prayer beads, and maybe even a Buddhist Priest in his orange robes to mix it up. It would only be successful if it wasn’t noticed, but equally it would be carefully considered and timed to perfection. When re-edited and set to music the performance would be unveiled publicly and the hypocrisy of the Law exposed.
But then I thought if that was to be successful on that level, it would have to be absolutely underground.
No Facebook, no Twitter, just good old-fashioned meetings in back halls and basements for planning. And this is where it starts to (in all it’s good intentions) become deviant. Or perceived to be.
I thought about the recent UK and US Uncut creative protests wherein the level of police presence to the activities of the artists seemed grossly out of proportion. I thought on recent economic sanctions on the arts and humanities. The sea of change seems to be hard-line (false) economics. An approach of control and restrict which is directly out of sync with what the Arts and Humanities strive to do, which is expand/challenge on the intellectual, social and spiritual realms which is vital for our survival.
And yet there is hope. For me (as it reminded to me time and time again) it is to ‘keep dancing’. Each of us has ‘our dance’ whether it is dancing or whatever that thing that makes our hearts sing. And we can all be empowered to LIVE that. To be strengthened in our own authenticity.
I get messages from the most unexpected sources reminding me of this; from local fire-fighters in my area giving me a honk and thumbs up whilst driving by to teens joining me in my dance at the Southside Festival. And so I do continue – even when I get looks from passers by that I’m ‘crazy’ or ‘sick’ (I figure my dance must be pretty bad those days ha ha). But mostly people smile, stop to chat and sometimes join in. I figure I’m writing this story (of my life) and so best live the world I want to live in.
And to you, Beautiful, I wish you the absolute same. Here’s to the dance!