No I don’t mean some lady named Joy, though I’m sure she’s great. I mean joy, the emotion. I think it’s really important to discuss the more unsavory things in life. We need to be aware of these things, and we need to talk about them and figure out solutions or ways to heal and move on. I get that. But what I don’t get is why art – of all sorts – has to be depression-centered to be considered “good”.
I’ve been noticing this as a trend in the lyrical and modern dances showcased at the dance competitions we’ve been going to. All the solos, all the duets, and all the groups are so incredibly depressing. Now, I think that art is a really good outlet for suffering and there have been some really good dances that are examples of that. But statistically speaking, not every single lyrical or modern dancer can have a family member doing a tour of duty, a friend that’s addicted to drugs, a parent that has died, or an individual battling life threatening illness in their lives. Mathematically it just doesn’t make sense. If you do, by all means, dance your suffering. But if you don’t, and I have to sit and watch you dance to Fix You, like I did for TEN OTHER DANCES TODAY, I will MAKE you suffer as you have me, and you will not like it.
I don’t propose that we pretend the sad things in life aren’t happening, and if choreographing a dance is your way of coping with these sad things, well then, that is your right. But I am saying that we shouldn’t invent trials and suffering just to be able to create a dance and hopefully win a ribbon. It seems a bit immoral doesn’t it? But mostly it seems a bit stupid. Dance doesn’t have to be unbearably depressing or melodramatic. In fact, I prefer when it isn’t. Why not celebrate and showcase the joy in our lives? If you’re dancing competitively, odds are you’re a pretty privileged person. You have more rights and comforts than so many millions of people in the world. Stop inventing fake tragedies and start dancing for joy.