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Dance Moves People graphic Joshua Martens

Why Does Dance Matter?

Editors Note: This is a collaborative post between Drew Jacoby and Emeri Fetzer and we hope to engage our readers in discussion.

An important aspect of the mission of DancePulp is to encourage our followers to think about the importance of dance and to actively support arts advocacy. Early this year, Drew asked DancePulp followers why they think dance is necessary in the community. The question was spurred by Kathryn Bennetts’ video interview regarding her resignation announcement from The Royal Ballet Flanders.

You can view Drew’s original post about Bennetts here.

With international arts budgets being continuously cut (Netherlands Dance Theatre and Dutch National Ballet are two examples of companies hit hard by Holland’s massive arts cuts), artists are reminded of the necessity of passion to keep their work afloat. Dance depends on those who feel art is essential and who financially back arts initiatives or volunteer their time to bring projects to life. Looking deeper into the issue, we feel education, exposure, and accessibility are the key components to bringing awareness , appreciation, and support for dance. However, it is easy to forget how many individuals do care about dance and dedicate their efforts to its growth. We would not survive without their generosity.  So once more, we are opening this simple question to you. We want to know why you dance, why you support dance or simply why you think art is crucial to life. Tell us your experiences of how dance has affected your community. Tell us your concerns related to arts funding. Tell us how you support the artists and companies you love the most and what you think should be done to bring appreciation to not only dance, but all art forms.

Here are some videos to get you thinking about this ongoing conversation:

Here are responses we received to our previous post:

From Anne Marie Menendez, Bloodgood:

Aside from the obvious answers of beauty, history, and escapism I’ve found that certain projects can have an even wider impact.

I had the opportunity to be a part of Ballet Austin’s “Light/the Holocaust and Humanity project” in 2005.  Not only did the dancers and the entire organization dive into the project, but so did the entire community.  The project was so much more than a ballet, it was a community dialogue.  The ballet was simply the cathartic culmination of months of research, meetings, lectures, exhibits etc… the ballet itself is also stunning and shocking simultaneously. It illicits imagery of community, fear, isolation, persecution, degradation, dehumanization, death, survival, and hope – all while only giving a “face” to the victims and never the perpetrators. I never imagined when I took my first ballet lesson that I would have the opportunity to participate in a project like this that would so deeply affect so many people.

During the creation process Stephen Mills (our artistic director) said to something to us that became our mantra and it has always stuck with me: “Art doesn’t change the world, people do. But art can start the conversation”

Art gives us a safe space to discuss issues and subjects we might be scared as a community to explore. We can create an abstract “blameless” reality in order to have the conversations we absolutely need to have. The arts are important because art can spark the dialogue.

From Katrina Brown:

Dance is the only time in which “breaking it down” builds you up all at the same time. In dance, culture, and art, racism, sexism, ageism, and all the other negative “-isms” fall into a void…much less heard of, and absolutely not cared about. It’s necessary for personal growth for each individual, and the collective growth of humanity, and only suffers because of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

From Zenith:

Art is the reflection of reality through the mind of an artist.

From Eva:

When engaging oneself with art one knows to ask the best of him/her self. Kunst is geen luxe. Het is broodnodig. (“Art is not a luxury. It is necessary!”)

From Ashley Wright:

The ability to create art is one of our most distinctive features for it separates us from all other creatures across an evolutionary gap that is unbridgeable.

We cannot wait to hear your thoughts. As further initiative for your comments, we will be doing a ticket giveaway for Lincoln Center. You will be automatically entered in the giveaway by leaving your message. Click here to learn about our Lincoln Center giveaway.

Post by Emeri Fetzer

Emeri is Managing Editor of DancePulp.com and a full–time freelance performer. Emeri most recently danced in Punchdrunk's 'Sleep No More' NYC and in original choreography for PITH Dance. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, with BA’s in Dance Choreography and English from Goucher College, Emeri loves to marry writing with a strong passion for movement. She is also a regular contributor for Theater Development Fund's online magazine TDF Stages.

Comments (11)

  1. Henry Chapman July 2, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Some of my best friends are dancers.

    • Emeri Fetzer July 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Henry,
      Good to have you on DancePulp. The friends are the ones who fill the audiences, and are the most loyal and steadfast supporters when financial times get rough. Almost every dancer I know began their career with a house full of friends.

  2. Pamela Gilbert July 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Dancing was my passion, when ever I could not caring if I should. Music just made me want to move to it, still does, But now watch others and enjoy and lose myself in their art ,emotion ,fun and enthusiasm
    I have multiple form of Arthritis so can not do it physically but in my head i am dancing in all the shows in every dance hall and in every room. we need dance to express our selves as not possible in other ways.

  3. Amber July 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Eat, sleep, breathe, DANCE!
    Dance saved my life. It is who I am. Music plays and it vibrates my soul, the body has no choice but to move along with the rhythm of life.

  4. Jordon Cloud July 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I think that creativity and art of any kind is important because it allows us to think out of the “norm” in many ways. Life for most of us does not simply consist of waking up, eating, and going back to sleep. There are emotions, sticky situations, and tragedies that come up in all of our everyday lives that shape the way we think and interact with others. Art allows us to comment on these situations that make life more than just a robotic and thoughtless act.

    Dance allows us to comment on these things with our bodies. It is a relatable art form for almost everyone because it is a language that all humans, no matter what language they actually speak can understand in one way or another.

    I have been dancing all my life and I can’t imagine what living would be like without it. It’s actually shocking to me to think that some people live lives full of stillness. Movement is empowering and reminds us what our bodies can do. They are not good just for sitting and writing, they are good for expressing, communicating, and of course, creating art!

  5. Amy July 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Dance is an expression of vitality… Doesn’t vitality matter any more? If you think not, then perhaps you have already given up.

  6. Lauren July 7, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Dance is such a high form of self expression, to watch it I feel so privileged and am completely moved. When I watch a dancer on stage, I’m taken away to another world. I feel the movement, the fluidity, I feel her flying through the air as I’m sitting in my seat watching. I forget where I am and I’m living in the story, in the music. It’s spellbinding to me.

    I love getting dressed up and going to the ballet. I think it’s important to have special times in your life, and dance always represents a special time for me. Wether it betaking a class, watching a rehearsal or attending a performance, dance and everything it encompasses holds a place in my heart that I visit frequently.

    I think it’s really important for all forms of art, especially dance, ballet, to soak into the minds of our peers and all young generations. A majority of funding that doesn’t come from the state, comes from elder donors and patrons who have been following the ballet since their childhood, which was a different world that I grew up in. The internet is a fantastic way to spread the word and show the world what’s going on to get people to appreciate something new. Having social media outlets that involve dance is another good way to spread the word about what’s new in dance.

    New dancers, photographers, videographers are emerging with their own concepts, ideas and visions for the future of dance. I love watching them develop within companies I watch in New York and Pennsylvania. I love watching videos on YouTube and DancePulp and showing my friends and seeing new works with them. If we could all show more people the beauty and inspiration behind the arts, so many more minds could be inspired and filled with new ideas.

    Dance, music, life…it’s all connected. To dance is to feel alive, to celebrate. Dance is life for me.

  7. Eva Stone August 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    In the greater scheme of things, dance doesn’t matter. If you compare the number of people who love watching or performing dance to the rest of the world, we are severely and deeply outnumbered. So why bother? Because “we” know and fully understand the WHOLE process….from training to creation to performance to connection to “wow!” “We” have the inside advantage. I have been obsessed with this art form for over 30 years, and upon a lifetime of struggling to get people outside my art life equally enthusiastic, I decided to take things into my own hands. I produce and curate an annual contemporary dance festival just outside of Seattle (Chop Shop: Bodies of Work) and one month prior to the Festival, I offer free contemporary dance deconstruction lectures to the public called “Reading Dance.” I teach them how to look at dance, how to make sense of this abstract non-verbal movement language, how to make it referential to their own lives and how to just take a moment and watch and digest and THINK. (Nice thing is…if they come to the lecture, they get a free ticket to the Festival!) It’s up to US to keep this art alive, make it (and keep it) relevant and keep the connections between artists and audiences meaningful.

    P.S. Thanks for the great interview with Donald Byrd. Spectrum Dance Theater is a permanent fixture at the Chop Shop Festival. He is a dear friend and great artist.

  8. Elaine Davenport August 24, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Dance has been a part of my life since I was six years old. I started ballet lessons between the age of six and seven, and the discipline of it has been a strong anchor in my life. It has helped me get through some tough times in school and life in general. I have found dance (of any kind) to be healing in working out a problem or a particular grief I’m going through. It was very cathartic and healing for me when my cat died.
    While I still do the ballet exercises, my main joy has been sketching dancers and their costumes. I hope to design costumes for ballet ( and other forms of dance) in the near future.
    Dance has also been a free expression for me. So many people forget to use their kinesthetic space, or that that have one, yet grace of movement is a part of everyday life.
    I am also a staunch supporter of the performing arts, especially dance, and wish more people were, not only because the arts relate to one another and are healing, but bring much needed revenues into our cities.
    I’ll never stop loving Dance!

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