Earthdance’s Anti-Discrimination Community Commitment
(Luke Anderson, Anne Bloom, Meta Bobbe, Amii LeGendre, and Anna Vomacka)
Earthdance invites you to engage in practices, discussions, and questions around anti-oppression. We ask you to reflect on this “Community Commitment” as a participant, as we recognize that the organization along with you all, the community, the participants, co-create and affect the dance culture. In order for Earthdance and CI/dance culture to grow and change, we must deepen our understanding of oppression and build tools and language together.
Identities and lived experiences of the participants, teachers, staff, volunteers, families and communities may range widely at an event. Oppression can show up in a multitude of ways from race, ethnicity, age, sexual or gender identity, socio-economic status, immigration status, physical ability, body type, body size, and religious beliefs. We each hold power, privilege and identity in unique ways. The invitation is to bring awareness to how this complexity lives in you personally, and how it shows up on and off the dance floor.
Earthdance as an entity that hosts and organizes events in the practices of dance, somatics, improvisation, Contact Improvisation and communal living sees it as a responsibilty to name these dynamics, invite reflections, and offer workshops and discussions that build these skills and tools.
Practices to Support This Commitment
INCLUSION AND ACCESS are active practices that provide access points and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, enabling all individuals to engage with any shared activity.
Given that Contact Improvisation, contemporary dance improvisation and somatics (Earthdance’s primary shared activities) have strong European postmodern cultural heritages as well as long-held ability assumptions, the development, practice and teaching of these dance forms have excluded many.
EQUITY as a practice takes into account histories that have made equality of experience, access, and participation impossible. Equity practices seek to remedy those inequalities with opportunity, support, and recognition.
CONSENT is defined as permission given for an action or experience. Given the power differentials in which all of our living and dancing is situated, as well as trauma many individuals have experienced, consent in our dancing demands ongoing practices that are crucial to safely navigating touch and imagination.
There have been too many non-consensual boundary crossings in CI, and this has caused confusion, anguish, and perpetuated harm. Please ask for consent when possible (Is this okay? Are you comfortable with this?) Please notice and deepen your own consent practice (say yes, say no, question actively, end and begin dances frequently).
ACCOUNTABILITY implies taking responsibility for personal and organizational action and inaction. Personal reflection, training, preventing, learning, unlearning, apologizing, repairing and listening will always be crucial to accountability work. Please consider how courage and humility can inform your own accountability practice.
How These Practices May Show Up While at an Earthdance Event
Examples of INCLUSION AND ACCESS in action:
Consider how you reference the body, how you invite mobility through the buildings and spaces, how you use your voice, how you ask about lighting, scent, or sound, who is in leadership, who needs translation, assumptions about native languages, and how you build in breaks, pauses, and resting.
Examples of EQUITY in action:
Consider how often you speak and how often you listen, consider the privilege of your location to power and decision-making, welcome others with depth, care and curiosity, support scholarships and diverse leadership, uplift newcomer voices and practices and attend their classes and workshops at Earthdance.
Examples of CONSENT in action:
Attend consent-focused workshops while at Earthdance to heighten your own explorations and questions, use consent language aloud to model practice, consider after-care in conversation after dances are complete, consider warm up time as space to deeply check in with self, reach out to receive support if you experience confusion or are triggered.
Examples of ACCOUNTABILITY in action:
Ask if someone is impacted by your words or actions, offer repair after conflict or microaggressions, speak from the heart when safe, study skillful communication, begin or continue to understand how you do self-accountability in your own life, and participate in community practices that seek restoration.