Dance and Civic Engagement
Dance practitioners across the country are creating innovative opportunities for community, civic, and social engagement. Choreographer, organizer, and former Urban Bush Women company member Paloma McGregor highlights contemporary community-based dance practice; concert dance that is intentional in connecting to community members and issues; and programs where the next generation of socially engaged dance artists are incubated. Through a wealth of stories and examples of dance artists all across the country, McGregor describes how community-based dance—the work of both pioneering companies and fresh new artists working in collaboration with community partners—bridges boundaries between individuals and communities, and between communities. Concert dance is pushing new boundaries by not only taking on social justice issues but fostering community dialogue, bringing awareness to issues of global significance, and demanding visibility for communities who have historically been overlooked. And incubator spaces are fostering community building while helping shape the future of dance practice and reveal its relevance and relationship to communities. In a variety of community settings––art centers, jails, studios, schools, commercial buildings and more––these new practitioners find ways to help people connect with their own physical experiences, to engage in the civic and social life of their communities, and to discover a new vision of their world.