Ongoing dilemmas of disconnect in contemporary dance

Internet technology can be a solution to contemporary dance’s continuous dilemma of disconnect and its constant inability to develop and sustain audience . This art form is abstract, challenging, and at times intimidatingly intellectual therefore the difficulty to attract a mass public should not be surprising. Often choreographers, funding bodies, presenters, dancers, academics and critics are just perpetuating this problem. We are a a very contradictory group who wants to be recognized but refuses to acknowledge the fact some of the work that is produced are not going to attract a mass public; this is the reality of our art form. It doesn’t mean that one has to create in order to ‘please’ the viewer unless that is the main goal of the work. With as much integrity as possible, my personal role as an artist is the need to comment or communicate a way of seeing the world and to challenge the public with this viewpoint. This does not mean abandoning my responsibility to the viewer but it just calls for a desire to achieve a deeper sense of quality and innovation. Sometimes that could have a reverse affect as I try to challenge myself and others in seeing things differently. These are the chances we must take when we call ourselves artists or we might as well be in the ‘arts and crafts’ category.We have to rethink about how to make our work accessible and that is to go to where the audience is, in the streets, in their homes, in their social and work environments, and the most important place is… on-line. Being accessible does not mean making work that is commercial or dumbing it down but to create an access and reason for for the potential viewer to enter into the creative process of the work. The dance milieu must think of involving the viewing public in way before it hits the stage. If we can have them invest in the story, content, the mindset of the choreographer and the idea of the work, we will build an audience.   Had an interesting conversation with a peer the other day as we discussed the situation of contemporary dance in Canada. Dance people are always complaining about their ‘situation’ but are not really willing to change things for the betterment of the whole milieu which in turn will help themselves. The people in dance are very self-serving due to the fact that it takes quite a bit of self- motivation and drive to succeed in this unforgiving career. However, this mindset will probably has to evolve and change as public support is diminishing, touring is financially difficult, and audience numbers are declining.  I love how the younger generation are collaborating and building a new energy and vision. They are trying to answer the problems that they are facing from the onset of their careers. It is the older generation of Canadian dance creators that must re-adjust and evolve with the times. 

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