The apartment complex is unusually quiet today. No kids playing outside, despite the beautiful weather. No cars rushing in and out of the complex to run weekend errands. Even the adjacent street that is typically bustling falls silent every now and then, leaving only a few birds and the breeze. Elsewhere, I know it is different. Cries for justice are echoing throughout the country this week as people stand up and say “enough is enough.”
I originally intended to write about the different shapes your at-home dance training can take, but that can wait. Since ballroom dance is a predominantly white sport, I can assume that the majority of my readers are white like me. We need to see and hear that what’s happening right now is important. We can’t ignore it. We can’t pretend like it doesn’t involve us.
What’s happening now is scary, painful and necessary.
2020 has ripped open and exposed this country’s serious problems for what they are, from the failing leadership to the systemic racism. As a society, we have stacked the deck against people of color. It’s been built into the system over generations to the point that it’s easy to miss if you’re not affected and not looking. We need to start looking.
I feel like this year is a major turning point for this country. We can either emerge from this chaos stronger and ready to build a new inclusive system together, or once the protests start to dwindle, we can let ourselves forget and go back to how we were living before. Until the next George Floyd.
Even though I am exhausted and depressed, I do have hope in my dance community. The Girl with the Tree Tattoo community in particular has been incredible in supporting me through difficult times. I ask you to extend that love and support to your black and brown neighbors who truly need it right now.
I have hope that we will do better moving forward. Even as the designated leaders flounder, others step up. Just remember that this isn’t a one shot deal. It’s going to take continuous practice and awareness (just like with dance!) to create lasting change.
Also, as in dance, we need to check our egos and listen to those who know better. Recognize and acknowledge where we’ve messed up, and work to do better next time. We can do this.
If any dancers of color are interested in sharing their experiences in the dance world, I welcome guest posts! Send me a note.