How are YOU?
Whelp... this photo popped up in my FB feed today, and it definitely brought out a few tears. This is the first time in roughly *coughs* 37 years I haven't participated in recital, in one way or another, and I'm here to say, I see you dancers and I feel your loss. We've all lost so much due to COVID-19, but I personally am looking forward to the 'Phoenix out of the flame' moment for the entire planet.
I read an absolutely fabulous poem regarding COVID by Leslie Dwight (via Scary Mommy) "What if 2020 isn't cancelled?" that I will share with you, and it has become my ethos for survival. I don't think anyone could have predicted we would see all that we've seen in the last 6 months, from a Pandemic, to one of the biggest Civil Rights Movements in modern history, to Mother Flippin' Murder Hornets, but what if this is precisely what we needed? To grow, to promote change, to rebuild ALL of our foundations, including the dance world.
So let me begin by addressing some of the elephants in the room. My family has multiracial and LGBTQ2+ members, and we are hardcore allies. I fully recognize my privilege, in that I have never lived in fear for just being me, and it breaks my heart for those who do. I have always had a no tolerance policy personally and professionally in regards to impropriety, so I will be doubling down on that as a starting point for positive change.
Other ways we can promote positive change for our allies is through language. We need to change it. I try my best, but have absolutely had to pry my foot out of my own mouth, in the past, and for that I apologize and pledge to do better in class and on paper. Throughout history dance has been predominantly divided by gender and culture, however, I've never really been a follower of these divisions, I have always encouraged students to do any exercises they want, and will continue to do so. The good news is, it's changing from the top down, over the last few months I have been in discussions with my colleagues from across the globe, and I remain positive for the future and breaking down of archaic systems.
Another area of change that is slowly happening, is in the uniform department. While I have always encouraged dancers to wear tights and shoes matching their own skin tone, I recognize that the verbiage in my own studio policies does not necessarily reflect that, and it's on the immediate to-do list. Did you know the first pair of shaded pointe shoes didn't come until 2019? Too late, way too late, but it's a start, and it's up to us to be the change.
So what if 2020 isn't cancelled?