The ‘islands network for collaborative dance’ connects people who facilitate community dance initiatives on Vancouver Island and nearby islands in the homelands of the Coast and Straits Salish, K’ómoks, Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw, and Nuu-chah-nulth peoples. It is a peer network of dance artists/practitioners, to connect, collaborate, learn and share ideas and resources about collaborative community dance.
‘Community dance’ refers to participatory dance activities that, for example, are based in communities, engage groups in creating dance/movement together, and create opportunities to dance that honour people who may experience marginalization in mainstream and alternative dance. Community dance may involve any style or form of dance. The focus for the network is on initiatives with main goals such as inclusive dance, community building, cultural expression, collaborative creative process, and communal healing. (The focus is not on classes where the main goal is individual therapy, fitness, or teaching pre-determined choreography, although artists/practitioners may also be involved in these aspects.)
The informal network started in 2018, shares resources through the listserv, and meets around once a year on Zoom or Skype. The network is autonomous, and is grateful for support from Made in BC- Dance on Tour towards getting the network started.
Draft shared values of people who have brainstormed about the islands network thus far include:
-learning ways of acknowledging and respecting First Nations sovereignty, Indigenous resurgence, and consensual relationship-building with local communities over time;
-learning about various practices of accessibility, decolonizing, anti-racism, social justice, consent, equity, group and consensus decision-making, being culturally mindful and trauma-informed;
-centering folks who experience multiple barriers to dance spaces, leadership positions, facilitation, and training; and
-unlearning divisive habits from mainstream dance, such as competitive individualism, scarcity and rivalry.
Would you like to be part of the islands network? If so, please be in touch, confirming that you would like to be involved and are okay with your email address being added to the network’s listserv and online collaborative documents. You can unsubscribe anytime. (Or if you do not use email the group can try to find a member who can be phone buddies with you to provide updates.)