An inner circle of chairs around a table, and a much wider circle surrounding that. A talk chaired by Wendy Houstoun, and contributed to by Fitzgerald and Stapleton, Dr Sara Houston and a recorded presence from Dr Rita Marcalo.
On arrival, the room felt intimidating. All the participants appeared to know each other, and I felt small. But once we sat down, and the inner circle was opened to the outer, that seemed to evaporate.
Politics. Some may say it is “the activities associated with the governance of a country or area…” or even suggest “activities aimed at improving someone’s status or increasing power…’’ The questions, statements and passionate conversations which arose within this talk were related to this, certainly, but were so much bigger than that. It was about opening up a space in which to suggest things which to yourself may feel uncomfortable to be thinking, but which someone else may agree with, and therefore make you feel less isolated.
We discussed community in wide and narrow contexts; and how community dance is helping those with Parkinsons improve their mobility and overall health, even if it could be at a minute level. But then also closed with questions of what community dance actually is, and whether or not we’re being patronising in putting so many people under the same umbrellas. And therefore, are we not allowing them to access what they actually seek to? To be themselves, and to not have something thrust upon them that we assume they want, or strive for.
We further discussed that we are worth something as artists, and we are doing something… we can’t all become nurses or social workers in order to make a change. Some of us have to stay fighting for and within the arts, or there won’t be any left…
The festival curator, Gillie Kleiman, contributed, stating that she does “dance to transform” and feels that it’s important for this to “hang near (her) work…”
A moving statement, one we seem to be forgetting as a collective.
Why are we here? What is it we are trying to say or perhaps break down? Or, maybe, the arts are simply “… a way to train for the revolution.”