One of the great instructive experiences of editing The Dancer-Citizen is that of building the un-themed November issues: to read the range of submissions as they arrive, consider them at length, send them out to peer reviewers and then—almost always a surprise—see the contributors’ work begin to coalesce around a common theme or concern. Occasionally these appear triggered by current events; but more often we would be hard put to name a single, instigator moment or question. Except that is, for the continuing concerns of this journal: who is the dancer-citizen? what is our work? what does it mean to belong to a group, how are we obligated to each other, how do we understand our common experience?
In Issue 7, Bound, our contributors see something overall about one’s experience — and maybe even their fates — being "tied" or bound to the experiences and fates of others’. Their contributions suggest that by looking to the corporeal body (health, body image, empathy) and/or the ethereal body (dreaming, heaven, divine feminine), we can better understand the interrelations of myriad human experiences.
In these works, contributors speak to processes, outcomes, and lived experiences inherently determined by and inextricably linked to the perspectives, behaviors, and pathways of others. The interconnected threads amongst all of our earthly endeavors and celestial yearnings can be revealed when we attempt to access the perspective of “the other”; or when we identify and claim the ways in which we are situated within each others’ contexts.
Celeste Miller calls up a notion of dance that serves “to make the case for dance, of all the art forms dance in particular, as an apparatus for empathy and accountability within medical professions”.
Gabriel Mata’s evening length choreographic work juxtaposes dreams and reality, nightmares and aspirations that “are expressed within the dreamer/DACA community (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).”
Britt Fishel’s dance film contemplates how individual striving towards health and longevity, independence, and liberation, might subconsciously (and without choice) tie us to others. Our habits and behaviors, informed by socioeconomic and biosocial factors, can influence (and be influenced by) the habits and behaviors of others.
Jessica Tezen’s sculptural work — an earthly body and a heavenly body — grounds the viewer to women’s experience of sexualization and body image shaped by the male gaze, and attempts to liberate the viewer from that gaze by serving as a lens of The Divine through which each can see their own beauty.
These contributions to Issue 7, topically broad and far-ranging, thematically share a core principle based on the virtue of human connection. By looking through the body, whether corporeal or ethereal, we can build empathy and understanding.