In late 2020 we held a series of Town Hall Meetings with community members who we have collaborated with over the last five years from across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
The purpose was to return to our relational values in a time of disconnection and uncertainly; to check in, listen and to talk together about our shared belief in the transformative social power of dance in the community.
We were hoping to identify a shared language, revealing our commonalities through the lived experiences of diverse community knowledge keepers. All of the people we spoke with hold leadership roles in their communities related to movement practice. They are also librarians, school teachers, retirees, cultural leaders, bedroom dancers, rock climbers, mums, contemporary artists and electricians. You get the idea.
Our conversations have reaffirmed to us, how truly expansive community dance practice is, as well as the important role that larger dance activities hold in bringing different groups and individuals together.
At the time of our Town Hall Meetings Melbourne was entering its second lock down. The yearning, loss and sadness from not being able to dance together was deep. The start to 2021 has only continued to highlight the ongoing instability and disruption that will be a part of community life for a little while yet.
We believe dance is so much more than simply an art-form. It is an integral part of our culture, starting first with the First Nations peoples of this land. It is something that transcends language and cultural differences. Our conversations highlighted that expressing oneself individually is important but collective movement, physically together, is essential to the human condition.
We have complied some re-occurring statements from the Town Hall meetings in a Manifesto to Move. We hope offers some inspiration, passion and articulation of the value of movement practice throughout life and it's value in communities.
We also asked arts legend David McMicken AM from Tracks Dance for his reflections after reading the Town Hall Transcripts. He has beautifully distilled some of the key insights which you can read here.
Over the coming weeks we will share more of Manifesto to Move quotes on our socials. We'd love if you can follow along and share further too.
What's your Manifesto to Move today?
Thank you to David and Nancy Skinner, Pinky, Robin Sharpe, Rachel Terry, Felicity Horsley, Wendy and Nicola from Dance Explosion, Kayah and Maitreyah Guenther, Sarah Ingram, Lucy Davis, Katie Edmiston, Mia Licene, Nadia Sunde, Jessica Devereux, Judy Dungate, Chris Bennie, Jillian Pearce, James Shannon, Sonya from Cairns Cabaret, Florencia Rodriguez and David McMicken.