Perspectives in Dance
A couple weeks ago I posted a message on Facebook that I had to restart several times before I could come up with the words I wanted to say.
I’m still not sure I got it right…or that there is a right way to process. The post was a reflection on race … a response to the racial injustices that have been happening in America.
Why is it so difficult to find the right words, particularly around the topic of race, particularly right now?
Because I understand there is a big difference between empathy and first-hand experience.
Because while my mother-heart breaks with George Floyd’s family, I have not lost a child to violence, nor have I had fear for my child as he walks down the street.
Because while at times I have felt alone and unseen as a woman in business or felt discounted because of my background, I do not carry the tiredness that comes with decades, or rather centuries, of fighting for opportunity.
Because while some have wondered whether or not I could make it in college or as a business owner, my skin color likely was never a factor in that doubt.
Because as a dancer, I recognize that many of our dancers of color have actually CREATED many aspects of the table I get to sit as a white woman in arts.
Because I am covered in a privilege I didn’t earn and my heart is breaking about things I haven’t actually experienced.
Because as I’m watching the frustration boil over in our country, and it has made me realize again that I can do better. I can be better. I can be a better ally.
I can learn about the people and the lives behind the names on the signs, names that represent real people, families, communities. I can have better conversations with my kids. I can be a better listener to my friends and peers. I can make a wider table starting with my business.
To start, I gathered our More Than Just Great Dancing® members online last week to listen and learn from our studio owners of color. The stories they shared of their individual experiences in dance were both wrenching and inspiring. Some of them wept. I did too.
Their voices are VITAL and their experiences are IMPORTANT. Here is a small sample of what they shared. If we don’t understand our friends and colleagues and communities better, how can we BE better?
Let those of us who are white not be fragile. Let us be better. Better as individuals. Better as communities.
I believe we can. We can and we MUST.
I’m planning to host another industry-wide conversation on Monday, June 15th at 1pm. If you are a dancer, dance teacher, studio owner, or leader in the dance industry, you are invited. Reserve your space at: https://bit.ly/PerspectiivesinDance
I hope to see you there.