Tuesday, September 20, 2016

It's an Art

Dance is art. 

Art is how we reflect humanity; its successes, its failures, its triumphs, its challenges. Art is how we express joy, sadness, pleasure, and pain. To have dance reduced to a competitive event is to demean the art form. Competitive dance has taken a centuries-old art form, comprising thousands of disciplines, and reduced it to a series of athletic moves and tricks to be perfected.

Competitive dance gives no value to continued struggle, or continued improvement - the end is all that matters. To have dance reduced to an awards-based athletic event is so counter-intuitive to why humanity evolved arts, that it may as well be removed from the arts completely. Call it something else. Call it the sport that it is. Sanction it under a governing sport body. Rename it.

A dancer is an artist. And artists will struggle for a lifetime in search of those small moments that give voice to their expressions of humanity. While professional artists do what they do in order to make a living, they also do it because the need to do it, the need to express themselves, burns deep inside.

Competition is not part of the artist's ethos. Painters don't paint because they want to triumph over other painters and win a trophy. Painters paint because they need to give people a window into new perspectives on life.

The same can be said of sculptors, authors, performance artists, and - pop music and the Hollywood system aside - singers, songwriters, and actors. The reward for dedicating your life to the arts is not found in trophies. It's found in the soul. It's knowing that you are showing people a way forward, and potentially opening up new ways of knowing.

Competitive dance can never achieve this.