BY EMMALY WIEDERHOLT; ILLUSTRATION BY MAGGIE STACK
One Saturday night five years ago, while rather inebriated with my roommates in the kitchen of our San Francisco flat, I had an idea. Just as there’s the publication The Onion that puts out fake news with the intention of illuminating farcical aspects of society, I thought it would be funny if there was something called The Bunion to illuminate the farcical aspects of dance.
Though I had been writing about dance for a couple of years at that point, that inebriated night with my roommates was when I conceptualized Stance on Dance. Unlike the previews and reviews of shows I had commonly been asked to write for local papers, Stance on Dance would feature interviews with dance artists who had unique approaches or vantage points, essays written by dance artists about their own experiences, and The Bunion. Five years later, this is still the crux of Stance on Dance, though naturally it has expanded and deepened.
To say curating Stance on Dance has changed my perspective would be a gross understatement. Through interviewing literally hundreds of dance artists across the country and even internationally, and through coaxing just as many dance artists to write about their aspirations and frustrations, I have repeatedly challenged my own preconceptions and biases and, hopefully, challenged the preconceptions and biases of my interviewees, writers and readers.
And I’m not done. Despite the enormous amount of uncompensated work it takes to produce two original posts a week, I honestly cannot consider quitting. What would I do with all that free time? Memorize the periodic table of elements? Take up table tennis? My goal is to eventually turn Stance on Dance into a print publication, of course keeping the online component. I very much hope that by the time I write my 10-year Stance on Dance anniversary address, the scope of what I’m able to offer has grown. Unfortunately, I can’t do it alone. I need readers (like you!) to share the site and its content with their own micro dance communities, to pitch ideas for new interviews, essays and jokes, and to give me an endowment. (I’m kidding about the endowment… kind of.)
Beyond having conversations with our friends and colleagues about dance, it’s more important than ever to unite the greater dance community. In the wake of the very real possibility that the NEA will be gutted, doing the work we believe in – whether it’s teaching or taking classes at a local studio, choreographing and producing shows, running performance spaces, dancing in a company, attending open jams, just going to see local shows, or any of the other billion ways there are to manifest dance – might very well become more difficult in the years to come, and yet more essential than ever. I truly believe in dance and its capacity to ignite emotion and empathy, merely through being creatively physical. And I also believe in Stance on Dance’s capacity as a vehicle to illuminate the hilarities, breadth and impact of dance as a practice.
In closing, I need to say thanks to these people for supporting Stance on Dance and making it possible: Maggie Stack, Gregory Bartning, Liz Brent, Dan Knox, Cindy Surdez, Silva Laukkanen, Cathy Intemann and Malinda LaVelle.
Here’s to five more years of building dialogue and community around dance!