"Human touch unites the forces which act upon the body with the sensations they provoke within the body." - Steve Paxton
For the past two weeks I have been inviting people to dance with me in different parts of the city as part of a larger project. DANCEDRAW With Me Portland! is one of those endeavors that started out with a hunch. One day an impromptu dance happened between me and another person in the street. It was magical and I wanted to do it again. Suddenly I realized what mattered to me the most in dance. Yes there is the physical thrill of expressing through the body and the aesthetic quality of harmonious lines. But that night what struck me as the most meaningful aspect of dance was connection. Dance provides an opportunity for a meaningful, co-creative, intimate experience with another person. Those are the experiences that bring life into focus. So the next day I sent out my invitation to the people in the community whom I have been dancing with over the this past year since moving to Portland.
I have now completed 9 DANCEDRAW events and there are more scheduled for the next few weeks before I leave for Argentina. Each event, each dance has been completely unique and unexpected. Meeting one on one has given me the opportunity to connect off the dance floor and learn more about the people behind the dance. Very quickly it became evident that even though everyone shared the sentiment that dance is a metaphor for life, each had a very unique interpretation and application of dance in his/her life. This struck me as I realized that within the context of partner dance connection is established between people from very disparate walks of life. Dance is the common denominator that draws people into connection. So what started out as an exploration of connection within dance has evolved into a much larger conversation. What is the role of dance in the lives of individual people and the collective life of a community? What are the therapeutic possibilities of partner dancing? What kind of impact can dance have on social, cultural, and political issues? The conversation is broad and each person's perspective is unique. If you have thoughts or comments on the subject, please share.