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  • Writer's pictureSyreeta Hector

"The Power Dynamics of Dance"

(In 2015, I wrote this material during the dance festival called Impulstanz in Vienna, Austria.)

"The Power Dynamics of Dance" 

The power dynamics of dance. I began to think about this concept during a weekend intensive where the teacher said that they weren’t interested in creating a dictator relationship with their technique, and from there corrected a student because they were not doing it properly. I don’t have a problem with attempting to cultivate new movement pathways in someone, however, I do believe that if you “implement” this type of situation, you actually have to act on it.

I was further encouraged to investigate this idea of power dynamics in the Keith Hennessey and Thomas DeFrantz research project called Get B{L}ack. This project was the first time I felt like I was learning something of value physically and mentally during my time at ImPulsTanz. I feared that this project may fall into the pity party for visible minorities, but it veered away from that by examining black aesthetics and afrofuturism. These were terms I had never heard before. As much as it was enlightening to be with curious people and supportive brains, I began to think about the times when it isn’t like this. This research project was an anomaly. The dynamics of working and creation  where we are “equal” is unlikely, and infrequent in our artistic lives.

As a dancer, I think about the bubble that this art form creates, and within this bubble of seclusion and inclusion, there is an inevitable hierarchy. These concepts are part of the form. This will always live within the form. A question that I constantly receive here is, “ Are you part of the scholarship based mentor program?” which actually means, “ Are you part of the elite group?” I would like to respond by saying, “No I’m not part of that elite group, how about we agree to end this conversation now because you don’t want to talk with me anyways,” and end it with a smile. Maybe it’s just me…  Why do we dance when we know that we will not only be evaluated by how we look, but by who we know?

August 2015

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