Beauty in The Ordinary
Nicole Decsey on dance in everyday life, and what’s going on in the TO dance scene that lives up to this mandate.
Creating impactful art is taking moments from life that people can relate to and unravelling them to their core. For this month’s article, I wanted to do the reverse. I wanted to find dance in everyday life. A simple task I assumed, but I found so much more than I had expected.
Movement is everywhere. If you take the time to look for it, you can find it in anything. You can see movement in the trees, in the autumn leaves covering the sidewalks. In the subway as you watch everyone go about their lives, leaving something, going somewhere new or meeting old friends. Life has a rhythm. A never ending 4/4 timing that carries us through the days and nights. It’s the swirl of the froth in your latté and the sound of all the different shoes and bicycles on the sidewalk. Even the beginning of a relationship requires a delicate pas de deux in this world of texting. Who will message first? Can I send another message if they never replied to my last one? Whose turn is it? And these delicate dances make life beautiful. Maybe a little frustrating at times but extremely beautiful because of the complexity of emotions that accompany them. Watching the world and looking for these simple truths makes you wonder what other people’s lives are like. The woman who just served you brunch or the family that just walked into the café. What has their day been like? Who are they? There are so many people in this world just trying to get by and we have no idea what lead them to where they are now.
With Remembrance Day here, I feel even more inclined to wonder at the lives of others. And I get a small smile on my face every time I see the boxes of poppies sitting out at the grocery store, the coffee shop, and the dentist office. Or someone wearing a poppy on their coat to honour those who lost their lives to war. There is no charge for these small acts of remembrance, just a simple donation of whatever you can afford. They are powerful symbols that show how connected we all are no matter how different our lives may be.
This donation-based pay what you can (PWYC) mentality has seeped into the dance world, and I could not be happier to see this amazing shift. Artists giving back to artists. There are companies like The Toronto Community Love In who are offering classes at a PWYC rate with no one turned away because of lack of funds. They ask for donations but if you can’t afford to donate you can still take the class.
Initiatives like this are so extremely heartwarming. And they promote the kind of love and understanding we all need in our lives. Toes For Dance is another company that is making dance more accessible. Their show Elusive Truths is completely free to attend, and registration is required only to follow social distancing guidelines. “Elusive Truths is an arrival in time, an intersection of questions and an invitation towards radical honesty”. The show will be performed in three different locations: a church, an art gallery, and a coffee shop. I anticipate that this interactive performance will be different in each location, and I hope to see it at more than one. These types of performances and classes are what bridge the gap between dance and life. Putting the two together and creating safe spaces for everyone and anyone.
Safe spaces are important, and in my effort to see dance in the everyday, I will be hosting an improv session at the Small Arms Inspection Building on Saturday November 20th from 10:30-12:30. This will be a space to heal, explore and interact with other movers [all levels welcome]. The two-hour class will be followed by a talk back to allow everyone to express how they felt throughout the explorations and maybe to just unpack how they have been feeling in their everyday lives. No one will be forced to talk or stay for the talk. It will simply be a safe space to express yourself after getting to know the other movers in the space on a very intimate level. I believe that we get to know a person better after sharing a movement practise with them that is as vulnerable as improv than we ever would have through a simple conversation. Link to event here.
Let’s cultivate empathy in our lives and in our art. Try to see the beauty in the little things and don’t forget that everyone has their own story. I hope the next time we pass each other on the street we smile at each other, that you hold a door open for a stranger and you message a friend you haven’t seen in a while. I miss you, reach out to me and let’s have a conversation or a dance jam in someone’s living room.