Shifting Intention

My hope for the world of dance is a shift in intention. When asked this question during my first few days in Panama, I evaluated my perspective on the direction the dance world is heading in. I came to the conclusion that the world of dance is moving towards one with an intention of personal gain, egocentricity, and status. With the creation and popularization of competitions, the rise of social media, and the constant drive and necessity to be better than the person next to you, our culture has lost site of the beauty and true purpose of an art form as expressive and community driven as dance. I hope that the intention can shift to one of community, inspiration, collaboration, and the development and betterment of the world as a whole. I hope that the dance world can become a community that builds each other up, encourages one another, embraces the beauty of individuality and artistic expression, and strives to use their craft to inspire others, empower others, and bring a voice to those who feel silenced.

During this exchange and the other two I have experienced, I am always amazed by the impact we can have through something as seemingly simple as sharing our passion with others. I am amazed that my passion, reality, and day to day life can be transferred and applied somewhere else in the world to evoke positive change. I am amazed that when twenty college students step back from a world of worrying over auditions, grades in technique classes, impressing our professors and our peers, and obsessing over the uncertainty of the future to focus on simply sharing our passion with others, lives are changed. Lives are changed as passions are created, confidence is developed, joy is expressed, and, most importantly, love is experienced. By dedicating one week to investing in the lives of children who are easily forgotten, I have consistently been humbled by the notable impact my talent and my passion has on their lives. By stepping away from the view point of dance belonging to me or the concern of being the best or booking the audition, I am able to share the beauty I find in my craft and light up the life of someone else by allowing them to experience this beauty alongside of me.

So, then I was faced with the question, “How can I shift the intention of the world of dance every day? How can this be applied when I am not in a foreign country teaching orphans and the impact is not as directly visible?” Maybe this looks like genuinely being happy for the dancer that always books the audition the next time they tell you the good news. Maybe this looks like actively seeing the dancer as she improvises in class for their ability to uniquely express themselves rather than judging their movement. Maybe this means accepting the interest of others in dance and being willing to dance with people with limited experience rather than judging their lack of knowledge. By evaluating our mindset and approach to dance every day, the way we approach our art form will reflect the beauty and power that dance possesses.

Kyleigh Terris
– WMU Dance Diplomat

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