Since I’ve started this blog in an effort to connect to a community in the best/worst community-building tools I know – the Internet – I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many smart dancers there are out there.

IRL (“in real life,” sometimes pronounced “earl”), I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been to expand my dance community. I’ll be performing with the awesomely D.C.-specific Glade Dance Collective at the Phillips Collection at the end of August. And rehearsals for my New Deal piece will be starting with Sustaining Movement Dance Company next week!

But, the more I get involved with a wider dance community, the more fractured I realize it is.

Online, Kate Mattingly wonders why the “So You Think You Can Dance”/ Fox/ Congress-initiated National Dance Day this weekend  isn’t better gelled with National Dance Week (which also calls itself a grassroots movement, but is lead now by an organization seeking nonprofit status).

Meanwhile, Zachary Whittenburg wonders why Wendy Perron is against choreographers blogging about the artistic process.

Last week, Ellen Chenoweth did a nice write-up of a Dance/USA panel on fusion dance and “dancing beyond genres.”

IRL, I’ve heard dancers wonder whether they should even bother going to National Dance Day. They worry that it will be too tourist-y and be filled with people who treat dance differently than they do.

Other dancers have mentioned that it’s too intimidating to get into the D.C. choreography scene – that all the festivals and new choreography performances always choose the same people.

It seems like the dance community – if I may oversimplify – is separated into three categories:

  1. Dance for entertainment
  2. Dance for culture
  3. Dance for art

Stereotypically, these communities are scared of and/or look down upon the other communities. As a former entertainment-only dancer, and now as a leaning-towards-art dancer who has just recently learned cultural styles, I feel conflicted. I don’t like that there isn’t a mutual respect between the communities. I don’t like that we stay away from the other communities because we’re afraid of them. I don’t like that I don’t fit in with any of them!

Can we learn more about each other – online or off – and more importantly, learn from each other?

I’ll do my part by:

  • Taking classes at a wider variety of locations with a wider variety of styles
  • Reaching out to more companies
  • Collaborating and sharing between the companies I already work with
  • Reaching out from those companies to the community through performances, teaching and maybe even flash mobs
  • Expanding my technique and knowledge of cultural dances like belly dance and Afro-Cuban
  • Writing this blog and making smart and constructive comments on others

What will you do?

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