November 15, 2016
During the Vietnam War, every respectable artist in this country was against the war. It was like a laser beam. We were all aimed in the same direction. The power of this weapon turns out to be that of a custard pie dropped from a stepladder six feet high.— (Kurt Vonnegut, Interview with David Hoppe, Utne Reader, May/June 2003)
I post this quote in order to reject it. I reject it on two grounds:
I reject the notion that our turmoil requires a “weapon”—something to be used against. In the wake of the US election, the UK vote on Brexit, staggering humanitarian refugee crises, devastation in Haiti, and unending conflict I am searching for anything that can be used with, toward, and together.
And I reject the notion that we have no power to effect change. In community with all those now sharing the power—the power—of their thoughts, their despair, their hope, their cautions and encouragement and reassurance and warnings from every direction, please let me add this: a call for citizenship, full engagement from wherever we stand to offer ideas, exploration, and knowledge that arise from our unique positions in our communities, our countries, and the world to reach for the possibility of lives in which every one may have free and full opportunity to develop the potential with which we are each endowed.
The Dancer-Citizen invites your contributions as we move forward to navigate and negotiate the meanings of “coming together” and understanding common ground—while rejecting absolutely the spectres of hate that manifest in racism, sexism, homophobia, religion-phobia, anti-immigrant hatred, and environmental destruction.
The contributions of the artist/scholars for this 3rd issue of The Dancer-Citizen reaffirm our founding statement: “our belief in the role of the artist as public intellectual, our curiosity about how dancers observe, explain and comment on the world, and an understanding of the obligation we hold to seek and develop solutions for the challenges facing the communities in which we live and work.” Our contributors’ work in movement, words, photographs, painting and music investigates and comments on gender-based violence, racial divides, the violent and hope-less dislocation of individuals and populations—and as well, proposes and models exploration of interdisciplinary collaboration that offers possibility for connection, community and change.
Jane Alexandre, Founding Editor