A few weeks back, Christina Johnson, faculty member, shared an overview of our Be Social: Community outReach project. We wanted to share her thoughts, again, for those who missed the eblast. Take a look:
“What are Marin Ballet’s “Be Social:” classes all about?
Dance throughout history is an integral part of every culture, ranging from recreational to sacred, and covering every form of social purpose. It embraces multiple genres, styles and traditions, as well as ages. In our culture many view dance as a performing art for only a select few, and although it can be that, we know dance is really for everyone. And not only is it for everyone, but as Sir Ken Robinson wrote, “Dance is part of the pulse of humanity.”
What does that really mean? Can we use the experience of dance as a way to connect us, and maybe even reconnect us, to our own humanity? Can we provide our community with a supportive, welcoming space for this to happen? Is that even important? These inquiries are part of what inspired the creation of our Be Social: classes.
Today when we use the expression ‘be social’ many relate that to an app, or a website, or an electronic device that offers us varying levels of communication and interaction. Essentially, we now have a vast global community available to us at our fingertips. But the fingertips that interest us most are the ones connected to another human being… in real time… attached to a body that is moving through space responding to music in the air! What if we could build a community together where dance is what brings us together, with the intention of nothing other than to share our spirits, celebrate who we are, embrace our differences, and have FUN! Oh… and maybe learn a new step or two! This is our version of being social.
In a way, our community let us know this is what it wants… and maybe even… what it needs! At first we offered a single class per month, selecting a different social dance style for each class. After one of our first classes a participant said, “I was just getting started! When’s the next class?” And after another class someone said, “That was so much fun! It would be great to bring friends!” These sparks of enthusiasm inspired us to offer a 3-class series; enough classes to learn a new dance, but not too many to feel the pressure of needing to commit to more. Our studios are often filled with very intense and focused learning. The Be Social: classes brought not only a diverse gathering of participants, both non-dancers and dancers alike, but also folks who gladly put down their hand held devices, which seem to have become an integral part of our daily existence. Instead, the process of learning a new dance moved them to socialize in a new and different way… and they wanted more!”