How’s your local dance going? Are you getting back together in person? Are classes and workshops in your area getting back to normal?
Then again, what exactly is “normal”? Will things ever be quite like they were, oh, say, two years ago? Back in the “before-time” also known as pre-pandemic it seemed like life would just keep on keeping on and that the idea of society being turned upside-down and outside-in (literally) was ludicrous.
If anything, in some way our innocence has been stripped away and our comfortable illusion of safety has been cast away for good. After a year-and-a-half of masking up, socially distancing, and scrupulously sanitizing, we certainly have a better grasp on what it takes to keep us and our loved ones protected in the face of danger and uncertainty.
For those of us who trust science and have faith in the vast consensus of experts that are knowledgeable about such matters, a two-shot regimen of a miraculous new kind of mRNA vaccine has provided at least some peace of mind. But along with that peace-of-mind a different kind of troubling schism is laid bare.
The baseline of agreed-upon-facts that serve as the bedrock to our common good is as cracked as a fault line after a major earthquake. I’ve long been an advocate of trusting your intuition and going with your gut feelings so it’s a shocking realization to witness how easily that most basic of human faculties can be subverted by a wedge of disinformation.
Fear is like kryptonite to intuition. Much like a road sign turned around backwards on its pole, when fear is allowed to navigate on a map of uncertainty the destination is rarely the right one. The overwhelming majority of those hospitalized for covid in the USA are now people who have declined the shots.
Don’t get me wrong, fear has a perfectly good function that keeps us alive. When our ancestors around the proverbial prehistoric campfire heard the unmistakable approach of a saber-toothed tiger, they didn’t need to waste time wondering if their hunch was correct, adrenaline had them up a tree or into the cave in seconds flat. Fear in the face of fast-approaching facts is how we course correct to survive.
Anxiety in an atmosphere of a never-seen-before threat such as covid however is ripe for subversion. The current state of affairs brings to mind the title of the first Survival Research Laboratories shows I worked on in Seattle back in May of ’86. “Failure to Discriminate: Determining the Degree to which Attractive Delusions can Operate as a Substitute for Confirmation by Evidence.”
Mark Pauline’s title was prescient for sure, but even so, none of us could have predicted the velocity and pervasiveness of outlandish theories and bogus “news” that the modern media ecosystem and the internet has enabled. I guess the moral of the story is that the more things change, the larger grain of salt we need.
So back to your dance, your dance community, and your dancing friends. Is your group back together? What changes have been made? Are you dancing in lessor or greater numbers? Are people wearing masks? If you’re an organizer, are you demanding proof of vaccination?
Two summers ago it would have been hard to believe we would even be asking these questions, but here we are. I know that in the case of Dance Jam, our weekly freestyle analog dancing event, we have yet to make the leap to in-person gatherings just yet. I sense a fair amount of trepidation on the part of our dancers, and being as how the space we use has little flow-through ventilation we’re even more cautious.
As an organizer, there are many variables to consider. With over 1,400 cases of covid reported in the last 14 days in the just the two counties nearest our dance, it doesn’t feel like the coast is clear just yet. Especially with the new Delta Variant rearing its formidable head.
I’d love to hear how things are going with your dances. Each community is like a micro-climate, the conditions and prevailing sentiment can vary greatly from place to place. Much like the weather here, we’re situated on a ridge where the cool fog and wind rolls in off of the San Francisco Bay so it feels odd to be quite chilly and wearing a jacket while the majority of the Pacific Northwest is sweltering in a heat wave.
Here’s to all of your efforts keeping your spirits up and your community connected as we navigate towards the next new normal! May your care and kindness continue to lift the spirits of everyone around you!
Much love till next Monday!
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine