What we do...thINKingDANCE will focus on the area’s professional groups, that is, those with a toehold of a few years’ experience, plus some of the aspiring ones. With a hefty population of individual artists and groups, our priority is to give them coverage, along with touring companies performing here, and an occasional glance at TV dance contests or other popular and participatory forms.
The Philly dance scene encompasses newly-minted college grads to venerable pioneers, pure traditions to hybrids and emerging styles, with African forms, tap, flamenco, Ukrainian, Cambodian, tango, every variety of hip-hop and more, in cross-cultural collaborations, dance theater mixes and media-rich spectacles. Ballet and modern dance range from classic to contemporary. Dance here can be site specific, political, tightly scripted or improvisational. The spirit is cooperative and generous, the resources helpful, the spaces affordable. Perhaps this is why dancer/scholar Susan Foster recently characterized Philly as being the dance capital of the U.S. today.
If we have gained such a rosy reputation as a fruitful hothouse for dance, what about some thornier questions, like: What’s the subtle difference between Philadelphia’s supportive dance environment and ‘back scratching’ where weaknesses are overlooked or left unarticulated? How do we help create an environment that keeps stimulating the degree of rigor, risk-taking and invention we hope to see in our artists and performers? Some very talented artists test the waters here and move on for lack of opportunities. What are the issues involved and what can be done about them?
thINKingDANCE won’t shy away from these questions, and more. Many of us are practitioners ourselves, writing about our colleagues and our world. We pledge to write from a place of inquisitiveness and fundamental respect for each artist. Hopefully we’ll write with some zing too, offering substantive criticism and possibly packing a well-informed punch from time to time. How refreshing! Join us.
(Excerpted from Lisa Kraus 10.28.11)