In 2013, the Dutch contemporary dance pioneer Beppie Blankert (1949) called me a dance activist for the first time. By doing so, she gave me a title I identified with and embraced immediately. It became an ongoing invitation to articulate the focus and urgency of my work.
Yes, I’m a dance activist!
My interpretation of this word is in constant flux, deliberately, as a tool to enhance the reflection on my daily practice.
I’m a dance activist, because I believe in the power and richness of dance. The artform dance. Dance in its widest definition. With its diverse palette of aesthetics, codes and truths. Dance as a language. Dance and the echo it can have in a human being observing and experiencing it. Dance as a form of communication. Dance as a shared ritual, a collective energy. Dance as a provocation. Dance offering beauty. Dance activating lust for life, or offering a moment of contemplation.
Dance and its alternative way of thinking! Dance and its research method. I believe in the ultimate power of the body moving. I believe in the urgency to move. To move!
So I’m an ambassador for dance. Dance. I choose to work within the range of artists labelled as underground, to choreographers and artistic directors within the established institutes. I choose to work within a variety of artistic processes, and with artists embodying dance languages in the area of ballet, contemporary dance and hiphop. I’m dedicated to dance in its widest definition.
As a result I oppose dance-fundamentalism. No dance language or aesthetic is superior to another. No audience behaviour is superior. A dance work can touch and satisfy audience members in so many ways.
There is more than one definition of beauty.
I choose to work on the shop floor. I’m learning by doing. My conceptual thinking deepens via the doing.
I’m applauding choices that seem to be obvious.
I’m questioning choices that seem to be obvious.
I am working with artists, dancers and artistic directors who are brave enough to question their own practice, and are dedicating time to our dialogue.
We are articulating the dance practice.
We challenge presumptions.
In relation to success.
In relation to leadership.
We share values
I embrace the responsibility to questioning assumptions and expectations within myself, within the people I’m working with, and within the wider society I’m living in.
I’m a dance activist.
And there are more out there. Each with their own definition of that word.
I name a few of them I love to work with.
Dance activist Roberto Casarotto (Italy)
Dance activist Merel Heering (the Netherlands)
Dance activist Annette van Zwoll (Germany)
Are you a dance activist?