NPR had a series called "This I Believe..."
People would be interviewed and asked to share some of their foundational beliefs. I don't remember any one as particularly striking, but I do remember the intent of each and every individual interviewed. They were so committed to what they were saying! These interviews were a manifesto of sorts; A call to action, both personal and social; Convictions that had been tested and shaken, but not destroyed.
Beliefs are often tested in crisis - individual, physical, emotional, and/ or social. Early in October, a community college in Oregan was destroyed by a mass shooting. A few days later, a threat of violence was made to Philadelphia area colleges and universities. Both of these events rocked the foundational belief that education is a trusted, safe, right for each and every individual. Conceptually and ideally, this country was founded on individuality, positive social change, diversity, and the ability to create and think critically.
In honor of NPR's tenacious dedication to reporting on not just objective facts, but to human stories, and in honor of the terror that rocked many beliefs and convictions last month, I'm putting down some of the beliefs that I hold true.
I believe that claiming the identy of an artist is a political statement. I do not create art for commerse, but I do create art for consumption, digestion, integration, questioning and critical dialogue. As an artist, I realize that my work will not make me financially rich (and may in fact cause financial stress). As an artist, I believe that money is one of many forms of transmittable energy. The work I create also transmits energy through thought, emotional connection, creation of empathy, empowerment, and sensitivity. These energies are not tangiable, but are transmissable. I am rich in compassion, love, intelligence, and connection. I believe these energies are as strong as money; albeit, different forms of power and strength.
I believe that we are not all created equal, but we deserve to be treated fairly. How boring our world would be if all of the trees stayed green year 'round instead of bursting into oranges and yellows and reds and browns! How boring our conversations would be if we all only thought like mathematicians! How competive our world would be if we all thought like entrepruanurs! Biologically, the world is diverse and therefore survives because of that diversity. Likewise, we as people need to accept our diversities and see them as strengths instead of weaknesses. Diversity of thought and physicality and abilitiy provide the opportunity to collaborate and to grow constructively. So often "group think" tells us different = bad, instead of looking at the possiblities to build up our communities. In that diversity, everyone has value and has the right to be treated fairly.
I believe that our body is the way we experience the world. We see with our physical eyes, taste with the musle and nerves of our tongue, feel with our skin, smell through the capacity of our nose... I could go on, but I think you get my point. We understand how to behave and act in the world because of the experiences through our body (yes, even the mind has a physcial form).
I believe that dance trains us to integrate the physical body, the mental body, and the emotional body. In developing a deeper relationship with our bodies, the dancer develops a stronger sense of self. The dancer has the ability to be more sensitive to another individual - physically, emotionally, and intellectually - because she has been trained to be sensitive to herself and to be also aware of the space in which she exists.
I belive that when we have a deep relationship with ourselves, we are better able to have deep relationships with others.
I believe that dance - practice, training, and performance - is a form of non-violent, positive social change.
To be continued, I'm sure... what is it that "This YOU believe"?