What is the place of art as things begin to fall apart? Where do we go for happiness in the midst of the horrifyingly sad events happening around us? These are the questions that have stayed with me as I have planned, organized, trained, taught, and traveled to dance classes and events between Florence and Myrtle Beach. On these drives I have thought and prayed for my sister in Standing Rock, whose family led the movement that became the Water Protectors. To this day she and her family are under surveillance and are being harassed. On these drives I thought and prayed for my friend who was beaten up by the police for driving while black and not using a turn signal. On these drives I thought, prayed and wept for my dear brother who was killed in New Orleans, a prominent leader in the Black Lives Movement. I felt what I was doing was so trivial. I have friends who are engaged in groundbreaking social movements, relatives that are helping to change communities, heart family that are on the front lines of social action movements and I am teaching Salsa.
When said like this maybe you, the reader, can see why I felt what I was doing was trivial. The operative word is FELT. Also, during those many hours alone, in prayer and thoughtful reflection I began to formulate my REASON. My PURPOSE. It was the original reason and I had lost sight of it over time because it's not sexy. It isn't flashy. It isn't polished. My reason is gritty, organic, slow, and heart driven.
My reason is to bring people together through the arts. My reason is to create a space where people, including myself, get a reprieve and get replenished. My reason is to provide an environment where people can face their fears of making mistakes, looking silly just so they can connect to the soul of who they are. It is my deepest belief that the arts allows us to commune with our spirits and those with whom we share a space.
Once I identified my purpose my organization began to attract like minded people or people who are drawn to an authentic experience. Now with my reason identified I will be more careful about who I invite into this space namely, other dance instructors. Now that I have embraced this rooted approach I can do focused, targeted marketing because I know that there are many people out there who are looking for a safe space to finally explore dance. On the regular I have people come to my classes who were told or who came to believe that they can't dance. They don't have rhythm. I have found over and over again that they were either lied to or they lied to themselves because once they get moving, I can see the light in their eyes.
So what is the place of the arts when the world is falling apart? It can create community. When people are in a safe community they build trust. When trust is built conversations can happen rooted in a desire to understand. Rooted in love. When people begin to talk and share of themselves divisions are eliminated and friendships develop. Where there is friendship there is love and where there is love change happens.
So if you want to be a part of a community of dancers that are at different levels of ability, that embraces mistakes, that wants to take our connections beyond dance into authentic friendship building please visit: www.arohaartscollective.com and we'll welcome you into our Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, Slide dance classes and events!!