While we’re investing in building and nurturing collaborative habits, let’s not forget that many tight-knit communities have learned, survived, and prospered, by working AND playing together. So, let me suggest something for the playing, community dancing.
11 reasons why
I’m a big fan of traditional, community-oriented music and dance. I previously shared my reasons why the annual week-long American Festival of Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend is a great community event. And given as that annual eventis almost here again, thought I’d dig a bit deeper into one element of that week – dance. At Fiddle Tunes there is swing, Cajun, old-time, square dancing, contra dancing…
Here’s why I’m a big fan of community-oriented dances, like contra dancing:
- It’s an opportunity to get together with, and/or get-to-know, others in your community, your community of living, or maybe even your community of practice (if you’re serious about dance)
- It’s a community connector, inter-generational, and across social status/strata
- It’s an integrative experience, right and left brain; a systems experience!
- You’ll be “breaking bread together”; music, food, conversation
- It offers many opportunities to connect with others in positive, encouraging ways, to “bid for connection
- Its inclusive, cooperative, changing partners often during the evening is the norm
- It connects with tradition; going way back
- Its authentic and local; its about people and their place
- You’ll have a story to tell about you and/in your community
- It supports the arts and as Mallika Sarabhai (India dancer, actor, and politician) would say, we all (especially those in authority) need to treat the arts as more that just the cherry on the cake, it needs to be the yeast
- It’s fun, and when things really are in-sync, the music, the dance, the people… it’s great!
Bonus reason: You don’t need to be a star or dance like a star (trust me).
On contra dancing…
New England is the hot bed of contra dancing in Canada/US (witness this 1 minute 20 sec YouTube clip of a high-energy Vermont contra dance). Yet, there’s also lots in my area, and probably some form of community dance, contra or other, in your area too?
Below is a video sampler of a local community (contra style) dance. (if you can’t see the video, click here) I shot this clip with my Flip camera, at a recent Victoria Contra Dance Society dust-up. Not quite the scale and exuberance of the other (Vermont) clip, yet, it still worked for me.
What form of play connects diverse peoples, in your community?