International Dance Day: Quebec Message from Andrew Tay
I see dance as a community builder. In fact, I see it creating communities. People come together through dance to embody their specific needs and values. In rehearsals, at the nightclub, on the street, at the community centre, friends and alliances are formed on the dancefloor that carry through into everyday life.
I see dance as an expanding field. I’m excited that dance and choreography is continually re-defining what it is, where it is practiced and who is included. Dance happens not only in the theatre, but also in the gallery, in public spaces. More and more, dance is being shared and learned online, taking its place in the virtual world, even appearing at political protests. It’s inspiring to see innovative artists that push the boundaries of form, creating undefinable experiences which broaden our ideas of what dance can become.
I see dance as embodied criticism. Because it directly implicates the body, dance has the power to re-think stereotypes of beauty and our body’s place in todays society. I’m encouraged to see more and more dances that bravely defy gender roles and directly challenge old fashioned body ideals and cultural assumptions. It’s clear today that everyone can dance and it is not something exclusively for the able-bodied, or the privileged.
Most of all, I see dance as a form of resistance! And choreography as a tool to challenge systemic problems and smash hierarchies in a physical sense. When we dance, we experience the world around us differently. We learn new things about ourselves and about those with whom we dance. At its best, I believe dance gives us the freedom to propose new ways of being, experiencing and living in this world together.
Choreographer, artistic director of Wants&Needs danse and Guest Curator at the O Vertigo creation Center