Photo credit: Instagram: Ian Eastwood
If you've been watching my show, To The Pointe, consistently, you notice there's been a couple of questions that have been repeated over and over again because I've been a bit concerned about the dance industry. The dance industry has exploded in ways that are exciting, but also make me want to tap the brakes a bit because tremendous growth is often followed by tremendous growing pains.
It's a topic I know I've addressed in my interviews with Tessandra Chavez, Vincent Paterson, Doriana Sanchez, Alexia Meyer and most importantly, Ian Eastwood. I point out Ian specifically because it was a long discussion we had on my show in July. It's a topic he's passionate about as an artist and he's authentic when it comes to creating movement and sharing his work with others.
He started a Twitter conversation about online dance videos, particularly ones derived from dance classes. Where the studio was once a place to learn in a safe environment, it's become a competitive place where some students are now afraid to go and grow.
While social media has become a wonderful — and sometimes evil — way to grow your fan base as a dancer, it has also diminished the importance of being a student. It's why thousands of you responded to Gaby's words in my Dance Network interview with her last month:
"TV will only fulfill you for so long. You need to stay in class, no matter how old or mature you are as a dancer. You are never too good to take class," she said. "The second you stop taking class and stop tuning your instrument, it’s going to get boring. You have to keep refreshing what you can offer. There’s a lot going in the dance world, don’t get stuck."
These three tweets followed right in a row on my Twitter feed the other day and I retweeted them all. The discussion needs to be heard. There are reasons for taping a class, but does every class need to be taped and put on social media? Are we creating artistic dancers or are we creating one-note dance stars?
I have interviewed enough dancers and choreographers in the last five years to know that I'm starting to detect within the first 30 seconds of an interview if their words and emotions are coming from an authentic or inauthentic place. With a new year just around the corner and so many exciting dance projects on the horizon, let's all take the time to reflect why we are all here participating in the art of dance.
If you haven't seen my Ian Eastwood interview, it's really worth a watch. He's one of the most spectacular artists of his generation: