“At the highest level, it is dance that takes in the social elements, human interactions and the role of gender,” says L’Estrange (France). “At a very superficial level, these are dance forms, but the very first question is “what is this? What dance is this?” Because we have these kinds of dances, where there is a particular dance genre. But there are other dances, that don’t take people to social contexts but only to their personal spaces. Some of them are also social dances, and also cultural dances, where that can be a kind of a barrier to others. In these ways, it can be seen that there are many forms of dance that are very flexible and have different functions.”
Are social dance forms in decline? As social dance is becoming more fluid, what may be its next chapter?
“I would like to think that [dance] is becoming harder to define and that people might be moving towards embracing social dances as a sort of dance, as a way of moving freely in social spaces,” says L’Estrange (France). “So I think that we’re moving into an era of more complex social dance forms. And when I talk in these terms, I do not define social dance in this way. At this point, it is something that is a way of moving in social spaces, or of dancing in social spaces, where you don’t have a single identity but many, many identities. And this might be something that continues to evolve and change.”
What is the importance of dance in contemporary social movements? What are the implications for social dance and dance culture today?
“[Dance] is more important than ever for the future of social dancing in France. Because for this kind of art, you have to have the capacity [to think], and also to move towards becoming a cultural dancer in a certain way. This kind of artistic culture does not seem to be really able to deal with this sort of cultural shift that there is now. That is why we see a lot of the traditional dance forms—the dances that we can still think about—being rejected [by contemporary dance institutions]. What remains are dance forms, because without that ability, there is nothing to perform.”
“It’s very important, because I think dance is this very fragile medium of cultural expression and resistance and resistance that we have been working with for thousands of years—but also one of the most important mediums for communication and resistance.”
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