I recently participated in this Long Table discussion about the decolonization of dance. Of all the comments that struck me during the two hour session this one hit the most:
Dance is an act of physical labor, and our culture does not value physical labor.
After some thought, I would actually go one further. We live in a society that advocates the delegation of all physical labor (aside maybe from exercise) for the sake of pursuing “our passions.”
This idea of what work is valued, who is deciding how work is valued, and what ramifications the settings of those values have, is intertwined with all the power structures that exist in our society – economic, political, and social.
Here’s the thing. If we don’t like how a particular system is functioning all we have to do is build a new one. Every entrepreneur is taught that. But the builders of the new systems take on a responsibility, and so do everyone affected and involved in a situation such as this. That is to care more about the people than the systems before them did. Otherwise we will get more efficiency, more policy, more money, maybe more diversity, but we won’t get more humanity.