Following on from an earlier coffee morning hosted by Gillie Kleiman, I hosted a coffee morning that began by asking: whether the term ‘Community Dance’ was still sufficient for our purposes?
The artists who gathered spent some time talking about what community meant for them in terms of their practice, their networks, homes and resources, throughout the dance ecology in the UK and Europe, alongside notions of community in the public realm both physically and digitally.
Some time was given to talking about the particularity of UK community dance, its history, its aesthetic, function and form. We did some work unearthing a spectrum of practices and artistic sensibilities, noticing parts of the spectrum that are more familiar. Non-professionals perhaps emulating the form of dominant UK repertory companies, fetishisations of otherness and community utopias, artificially fabricated structures, people, peripheries and the politics of participation.
We talked about value – artistic – instrumental – institutional – educational – economic – social – personal – the value of everything that exists in a spectrum, the value of community as intrinsic to practice, the value or devaluing of Community Dance as a value, idea and practice and so we wondered about a reclamation of Community Dance.
We laboured over language and legibility. Finding the right words to bring things into being, so as to offer what we find to be significant, to be beneficial, to one another, to humanity as ways of understanding.
We talked about what we do, what we dance around, what and where is the meeting point or place. Why do we Gather there? How we go about Gathering. What is the Invitation?
The kind of invitation
The quality of invitation
The intention of invitation
And what is the Offering
An Invitation for a Reclamation of Community Dance?