Creating a 21st century feminist dance company requires uninstalling patriarchal values from our studios, classes, auditions, and performances so we can reboot the system. Here are some of the problems of patriarchy in dance, in no particular order: the body as object, the fetishization of body parts, the body as lines, masochism, dancers as tools of the choreographer, genetic and economic elitism, regimented notions of grace and virtuosity, tyranny of counts and mirrors, the psychic cost of perfect unison, the crippling effect of competition on the creative spirit.
Here are some possible solutions, also in no particular order: take away the mirrors and dance from the inside. Abolish counts and harmonize with the music instead. Replace perfect unison with an organic unity. Let movement express connection and community rather than a strict vision from the choreographer. Let dancers be a swirl of person, flesh, energy, experience and voice, instead of physical objects put into various shapes and positions to serve the gaze of the viewer. Define beauty as healthy happy dancing.
There is no enemy, no evil perpetrators. It's just a system that needs RECALIBRATING.
A LAVA LEXICON
a physical training, language and aesthetic that shifts focus from the lines and shape of the body to the skills and challenges of accomplishment. Acrobatic dance guides the viewer to appreciate what happened in the movement, not the shape of the body.
in feminist dance, organic movement borne of health and happiness. In patriarchal dance, received movement borne of masochism and suffering.
A person or being in motion. A rich and textured voice, not an instrument. An expressive embodiment of movement, not a silent body.
Equality. A balanced distribution of power and agency. An adjustment to the global distribution of power that will come as a relief to both men and women.
An art form about movement, not the body. A nonverbal form of communication in which expectations of strength, grace, courage, and body shape are not limited to or defined by gender.
In feminist dance, the possession of ease, flow, mastery, presence. In patriarchal dance, the possession of oPPRESSIVE levels of control and coordination.
One of the fundamental organizing principles in a patriarchal system. Not the most dynamic or integrated or complex or expressive or creative, but traditional and of value nonetheless.
LAVA, LAVA Studio
a laboratory for creating dance movements and expressions that are based in feminist principles of empowerment, community, relationships, and connection.
A means of support rather than a means of dominance. Expressed by curves and holes and spirals, not just lines and blocks and symmetries.
A system that puts men in a position of power over women, setting the basis for relationships of inequality throughout the globe. Characterized by individualism, hierarchy, domination, violence, alienation and misogyny.