The pandemic has opened many people’s eyes to the fragility of current systemic structures. The dance community, specifically, has had to move many decades-long events to virtual or cancel them completely. Science tells us that as the climate crisis worsens, the likelihood of new diseases cropping up increases, thus increasing the likelihood of future pandemics. Besides this fact there is the reality that without a planet to live on, there’s nowhere to dance.
As we move into a (hopefully) more “normal” year, we are calling on dance competitions and conventions to release a plan for mitigating their impact on the climate with each event they hold. We pride ourselves on not just being artists that can create change through dance, but specifically in the competition and convention world, as training the future of our industry. How can we hold this mantle with any sense of validity if we are not actively working to lessen our impact on the world our future generations stand to inherit?
A single dance competition or convention alone typically includes flights for potentially dozens of people (read about the impact of air travel on climate change here), plastic trophies often also shipped and sent via air, merchandise printed on fast fashion apparel (read about the impact of fast fashion on climate change here), and much more.
We are calling on dance conventions and competitions to release a plan for implementing more responsible events in the 2021-2022 season.
We strongly encourage the following common sense rules to be a part of this plan:
1. Building the purchase of carbon offsets for all air travel of employees and faculty in their budget.
(Read more on carbon offsets for air travel here) This simply means calculating the CO2 emissions (at a website like this) and then donating money to a project that works to reduce carbon in the atmosphere (a list can be found here)
-Consider alternative means of transport other than by air.
-Consider bringing faculty by train or bus or less harmful means. Maybe this means looking for faculty and staff who are more local to each event. Locality has the added benefit of boosting careers of teachers, tech people, and other dancers in every city you go.
2. Dramatically reducing the amount of plastic and paper used at an event.
The effect of plastic on our environment is VERY widely known. Re-imagine the awards ceremony in a way that creates sustainability. Be real about how many items end up in the trash eventually. What does a plastic trophy really mean in a burning world?
A. Supply water for all dancers and tell participants ahead of time to bring reusable water bottles.
3. Ensure that all apparel sold is printed on sustainably produced clothing.
4. Report on the electric usage of all tech (venue, amps, speakers, lighting, etc.) and address what you are doing to lessen the amount of energy you use.
We also encourage patrons of these companies to take note of the ones that do and do not release climate plans when deciding where to take their business in the coming season.
Does your competition or convention already do these things or take other steps toward a greener future?
We just want to hear what they are and what your plans are to build on them.
Teddy Tedholm (Master Teacher), Emma Portner (Choreographer), Emily Shock (Master Teacher), Destini Rogers (Master Teacher), Marissa Osato (Master Teacher), Erica Sobol (Convention Instructor), Holly Ryder (Convention Instructor),
Ali Dietz (Convention Instructor)