Not all ideas should be just thrown away.
We asked our contributors what ideas need updating and reform in 2021.
Here are a few of our favorites.
How We Deal with Harrassment
We must do better to prevent harassers from being in the studio. This takes vigilance and training in how to spot and approach victims of abuse. Let’s fight in 2021 to end the cycle of predatory choreographers and dance teachers. There are many programs out there, many of which are free, that can help you to create a safe and informed environment.
How We Teach Dance History
In the New Year lets normalize history, no matter how recent, in the teaching of any style of dance. All history lessons are more impactful when students can feel the real life implications of those histories. Plan your lessons around dance history. Even a contemporary class can talk about the influences in the choreography. Show videos, then dance, then compare. This not only enhances the value of your class but ensures that students know the true sources of their training.
How We Define “Qualified”
This one builds on the last point. In 2021, let’s upgrade the way we decide who is “qualified.” Don’t refer to other people’s opinions; use your own eyes. Deciding who to give a grant? Take your eyes off the resume and look at the work. Choosing a class to take? Look past the hype and ask if you are learning anything. Looking to hire a dancer? Take your eyes off the follower count and look at the dancer. Fame and hype are not, in themselves, qualifiers.
How Much We Cling to Tradition
In enhancing how we teach the history of our craft, we must also not be afraid to question the value of long held traditions. The world has changed since most of our “bedrock” styles of dance were invented. What makes classical ballets feel so immune from updating and adaptation? Moving forward, teach the history, question the history, adapt to the present.
How Transparently We Operate
Transparency is the key to a healthy industry. Professional interactions should be as transparent as possible. Audition panels and grant boards should look at their processes and fight harder for transparency and conversation among applicants and auditioners. Panels making an effort to tell participants what worked or did not work will make these processes easier for all involved.