Community Dance

In this blog I want to give some attention to the community work which is part of the inclusive/integrated dance scene. It is so important that all of us have the change to dance. Working with Indepen-dance this month made me realise that it’s a craft on it self. I see community dance as the work we do for the people and with the people. It is accessible for any age and everyone can join in. So we celebrate the diversity and see what collaborations can emerge from that.

However, that also means we include lots of different types of dance and different types of people. This isn’t a problem, however, it means that you need to be highly skilled as a dance practitioner. On the the website of the People Dancing Foundation, the foundation for community dance you can find all difinations, values and code of conduct: link

Nevertheless, often i do think about how do you make a choreography on a diverse group of dancers. In my opinion there are many ways. First of all it depends on what you have to produce. Even the word ‘produce’ isn’t right, because I think it is more about the dancers having fun on stage. That the choreography and the working process gives the dancer, individual something extra. However, i always ask myself: Where to start?

First of all Look at the age of the group and see what arise from their community.  This can be a theme, popular music, a thing they love to do, a daily routine etc. From there I make a mind map and see what other things are connected. Knowing your dancers and the group helps enormously with finding the right movement, but often the movement comes from the dancers themselves. With improvisation tasks and trying to give them an experience of an atmosphere, theme helps to find these movements.

To give you an example. This month I worked with the youth company (up to age 20) of Indepen-Dance based in Glasgow. rehearsals where in the Tramway Glasgow. I knew that a lot of the dancers where male and had very cool charters. I was working with inflatables already and then my sister told me about the inflatable dinosaurs at Paper chase. Asking around and working with 3 small ones I saw the theme was working and the imagination was triggered. We ordered a enormous dinosaur and one dance scene was leading to another. It became a very funny choreography.

During the proces I think it is important that the dancers work together as a group and that everyone has a equal share in the process. However, I also do think that sometimes the choreographer needs to make artistic decision if the work is performed. In my opinion the choreographer is also the person that is guarding the gate to humiliation. So it might not even be an artistic decision. It can also be a social one.

Nevertheless, if you would like to read more about the topic please click on the links below.

Enjoy reading it!
Joop

Some Books to read:
An introduction to Community Dance Practice

Related websites:
http://www.communitydance.org.uk/shop.html
https://www.danceuk.org/resources/recommended-books-and-other-useful-reading/