Thursday, July 29, 2010


Karen Reedy Dance takes part in a collaboration at the Torpedo Factory. This is one of the essential paths of performance today: sharing ideas and creations between different disciplines. I am also excited to see this event because it is live and site-specific. When I talk to people about dance today they think that what they see on television - So You Think You Can Dance - is all there is. I am not knocking the show - it does a lot to open the eyes of viewers and get them interested, but it does not acknowledge the diversity of dance and performance styles that exist in our world. And I think it makes little to no effort to acknowledge the sources and people who have pioneered these styles and ideas. While I am on this topic, has anyone heard about National Dance Day happening on Saturday?

Can someone out there explain why this is happening? Isn’t there a National Dance Week in April? Why is Nigel Lythgoe our country’s spokesperson for dance? Has anyone listened to his analysis of choreography and performance? Does he support dance as an art form or as flashy and glitzy athleticism? What would happen if So You Think You Can Dance gave 30 seconds of each episode to the creators of dance in this world? Why do we encourage people to think that practicing a dance form for a week makes you skilled enough to compete and perform for millions? Is this why artists dedicate lifetimes to pursuing careers as choreographers and artists? so that their craft can be packaged into a 2 minute sequence of moves to dazzle a massive crowd? So You Think You Can Dance does a great job of turning an art form into a competitive sport, and maybe there are viewers who are excited enough to buy a ticket for a performance and watch dance in a theater or at a site like tonight (although tonight is free!). If the goal of Saturday is to “encourage individuals, families, organizations and communities from across the nation to come together and dance,” perhaps Nigel could share his role as spokesperson with someone who has inspired millions to consider dance as a source of knowledge, fulfillment, passion, cultural understanding and wellness – for body, mind and spirit. suggestions: Jacques d’Amboise, Liz Lerman, Twyla Tharp, Madonna, Kenny Ortega, Bill T. Jones, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ellen DeGeneres. When do we acknowldge people who are important to dance and who promote creativity (not just athleticism and competition)? would it be possible to invite someone who is committed to the multifaceted nature of this art to speak about its importance - maybe a scholar could provide some words of wisdom? I think one of the best spokespersons for dance is Deborah Jowitt. Who do you think it is?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for raising these questions about "National Dance Day." I'm also disappointed with the equating of dance with aerobic exercise, or the idea that the most beneficial aspect of dance is its fitness element! And Nigel? Really? I think a pairing of Beyonce and Bill T. would be good. Would be nice to have both dance as art form and dance as entertainment represented. Would add Judith Jamison to your excellent list as well.