July 23, 2015
– By Ananya Chatterjea, artistic director
To occupy dance is to fill dance with the materiality of unlikely bodies.
It is to remember that dance is a legacy of the commons, shared by us all, and entrance to dance and the joys and transformations the practice offers is not dependent on passports and visas.
To occupy dance is to fill it in unusual ways so it cannot be hijacked for a narrow understanding that is predicated upon exclusions.
To occupy dance is to fill (a) professional dance with bodies of color who embody an alternative dance practice and non-normative ideas of beauty and line, and who often find themselves on the outside, looking in; and (b) a general practice of dance with the unlikely bodies of audiences, witnesses, passers-by who are invited to let the dance touch their bodies.
#OccupyDance is based on the yogic idea of the sacredness of the body and the weight of every thing: anything that goes in the body impacts it in some way.
If a movement is embodied by audiences, in community with performers, we believe that it stays in their muscle memories, in their kinesthetic frames, returning later to provoke questions, and ripple through their consciousness, inflecting their daily life practices.
If we have danced together, shared movement, space, and rhythm; if we have woven our bodies around and through each other without treading on each other’s toes, or bumping into each other; if we have linked arms and danced together even for a moment, how can we not care about each other?
In this way, #occupydance is at the root of our social justice practice.