Co-creative Social Dancing Project: Exploring Alternatives while Respecting the Past

I am proposing to explore what would happen if we eliminated all social constructs and danced as 2 partners with no labels in social dances, what would that look like? How would that change the dance? How would we decides who leads and follows the dance? Would we switch roles or would the roles disappear all together? I do not have perfect answers to any of these questions but would love to explore the possibilities with like minded people. This is why I created this page and also why I am planning different gatherings and workshops to give the space to explore these possibilities.

Social dancing is generally recognized as being a man (lead) and a woman (follow) dancing together where the lead, leads the steps and the follow executes them. The tradition is long standing and stems from the many generations and stem from the place of man and woman in history. When we social dance, we may not always realize it, but we are accepting to play a role (just like when watching a period movie we don’t get appalled by certain behaviors because we accept that at that time people did live this way), we accept as a follow the role we play in the dance, the same for the lead, even if in real life most of us don’t believe that men should always take the lead in everything. So, with the idea that we are dancing today, in a society where all humans are considered equals, where women and men can be friends, where all types or orientations, and relationships are accepted. I think social dance could also be a reflection of those new ideals. I also believe in being the change you are looking for, so I decided that it was time to explore new avenues in social dance. I am not dissing the past, I have a great respect for all the dancing forms and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with social dancing as a traditional lead and follow. But I believe it’s interesting to have more options and explore different avenues and I believe it could bring social dance to the next level not just in the complexity of partner work it would require but also in a deepened connection, openness and creativity. Some people call this type of dancing, Liquid Leading, Co-leading or Ambileads, and Degendering I might just call it Liquid Social Dancing for now. (Please bear in mind that I am still figuring this out myself, so the dialogue, names and ideas are still getting figured out)

My experience as a teacher and as a long time follow and lead in social dancing coupled with life experience  have brought me to believe that every healthy human has firstly the same basic skeleton and muscle structure. We also have the same possible range of movements, emotions, expression and musicality. The same ability for traits that are usually thought of as more feminine, like grace, flexibility, emotion, gentleness and listening skills as well as the same ability for traits that are usually thought of as more masculine, like strength, leadership and decision making. Society may bring us to develop more one side of the spectrum than the other due to social constructs, but many people today are choosing to break away from stereotypes and are showing that strength can also mean flexibility and emotion, that leadership is better coupled with listening skills. So if we first find balance as a human being between our male and female traits and come to the dance floor with self awareness, openness, confidence and creativity, and no pre-assumed role, and then social dance with a partner, how could that change how we dance?

Co-creative Social Dancing Project: Kizomba

Save the date, Wednesday, October 25, 7-9pm, will be the first explorative workshop for the Co-creative Social Dancing Project: Kizomba. This project is for like minded people who are interested in exploring alternatives in Social dance this concept goes by several different titles, from Liquid Leading, co-creative dancing, co-leading, ambileads, to degendering. I have been social dancing for about 13 years now, I do have a great respect and love for social dance. But I also think that it can be interesting to look at it from a different angle and explore different options. As both a lead and follow that I mostly do separately, I am more and more interested to explore what would happen if both partners would start a dance without an agreement of who will lead and follow and both having a background and understanding of both roles, could we find a way to dance together and switch roles or co-creating? And very importantly, how would we dance this way at as high a level as a normal lead/follow dance. The explorative workshop will offer different exercises and techiques that we will explore together. A minimum of basics in the dance in one of the roles is required to attend, Cost $10

More info: info@freetomovedance.ca,902-471-6154, http://www.freetomove.ca/exploring-alternatives-social-dancing-re-imagined-for-the-21st-century/

Here are links to videos and articles that have inspired me to pursue theses ideas:

http://www.creactiviste.fr/2017/02/switch-leading-and-coguiding/

http://www.vincegowmon.com/co-creative-conversations-2/