The pandemic has undoubtedly changed our daily routines, and even further, has changed our view on what is truly important in our lives. What are our values? What brings us joy? For over a year now, we have shifted and adapted. We’ve discovered creative solutions to stay connected and united. Throughout it all, the power of art has remained. Dance, specifically, has proven itself a consistent universal language that everyone can engage in.
What differentiates dance from other art forms in its ability to connect us all? People of all ages, all abilities, all backgrounds, and all cultures have bodies, and therefore, can dance. And there is an inherent beauty in that. It is something that all humans can tap into and understand.
Arts Umbrella Artistic Director of Dance, Artemis Gordon, explains this idea further: “Dance is unique as an art form because the sensations of movement are universal, and do not rely on a skillset to recognize a universal shared experience.”
It’s valuable for people at any stage in their life to discover dance. This spring, Arts Umbrella is thrilled to be joining Canada’s National Ballet School in another year of Sharing Dance Day, which grants all people this opportunity. The annual nationwide event celebrates movement through a collective sharing and learning of various choreography, and no experience is necessary. The event recognizes the universality of dance and the importance of shared experiences. We welcome you to join in and celebrate your bodies by connecting digitally with dancers across Canada. Learn more about how to participate here.
At Arts Umbrella, we believe exposure to dance starting at a young age is an asset to an individual’s development. This past year we have experienced isolation and have had to reflect on our emotions. The growth that comes out of processing feelings and expressing thoughts, particularly through art, is profound.
“The emotional development of a human being is complex—it cannot be fully realized without a commitment to the body,” says Artemis. As emotions are biological states, understanding the connection between our minds and bodies is imperative in handling our individual thoughts and feelings.
Dance teaches you this link between the mind and body. “A dance education gives you a level of resilience and tenacity because it’s about problem solving and dealing with the things you don’t have, and making what you do have be enough,” says Artemis. Dance provides children with valuable life skills that can be carried into adulthood.
“So much of the experience of growing up is about performativity and trying to design who you are in a way that fits into your surroundings. The problem is the genuine authenticity of who you are isn’t explored. We can only really be great if we are truly ourselves, and it’s when we try to emulate something outside of us that we falter. There is no greater educational gift than that of self-reflection, and self-discovery, because a person who knows [who they are] is valuable to the community.”
The importance of local community is stronger than ever, and, with the opening of Arts Umbrella’s new building on Granville Island, dancers are able to continue the process of self-exploration within a beautiful, open space. “We have a completely renewed chapter in Arts Umbrella’s history with this new building. It is a wonderful symbol that art, and dance education, is so much bigger than we thought it was—it’s everything” says Artemis.
Learn more about Arts Umbrella Dance and browse upcoming programs -> artsumbrella.com/dance