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Radical Reflections for The Dance Current

Updated: May 14, 2019

for the The Dance Current - May - June 2018 - 20th Anniversary Issue

Sometime in the depths of 2017/18 winter, The Dance Current invited me to contribute to their 20th anniversary issue (May/June 2018). The editors decided to use the 20th anniversary buzz to shed light on key issues in contemporary dance in Canada, and asked dancers across Canada to write about issues dear to them, with a call to action.

Like most, I had a lot on my mind and heart that winter regarding the risks of being a women artist and performer in theatre, dance, film. It was tempting to write from a place of darkness. I chose the route below.

Dancers! Take care of your whole self and one another. Hold each other up. Take the time to embrace, nourish, and celebrate your artistry. Stand tall and be proud – dancers express the span of life experience with a single physical turn of phrase, we show how a body revels in life, we help create revelations in minds, bodies, and hearts.

Dance, as an embodied art form, remains radical and capable of creating and enabling change. With dance’s radical nature, a dancer’s path can be intense, surprising, sometimes profoundly difficult. During my research project A Body of Memory I found many of the 70 dancers I interviewed had experienced trauma via harassment and discrimination of all kinds, at all ages and stage of life; and/or had experienced lateral violence during her or his dance training and dance-related experiences. Of course, The Dance Current writers, readers and Canadian dancers are also discussing these issues, currently and historically.

In light of all that is going on in our world, let’s replace lateral violence with lateral compassion. And celebrate and embrace dancers as integral, crucial keepers of culture, history, and cultural memory. Especially in these times, when more and more people become distanced from their own bodies and their own sources of power – let’s draw resiliency and joy from the embodied nature of dance.

And let’s turn to the wild world for inspiration and healing. My call to action is: Dancers! Go to wild spaces and dance there, connect to the earth and let go of the residue of struggle of the path. Find pleasure in the natural and wild world, and then bring your refreshed body back into your dance, whatever your dance may be. You belong. You are part of the mighty chorus of life.

You can see the full "Provocations" feature here.

Read other "Provocations" contributor's thoughts here.

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