“Music is dance AND dance is music!” exclaimed a first grader today. This declaration made me critically analyze and reflect on my own understanding of music and dance. Here are a few thoughts I have:
The forced division of music and dance into separate disciplines that do not interact is colonization at work. There is nothing that dictates the separation of the two aside from the colonization of our minds.
The lived intersection of music and dance is critical to multiple cultures of the global majority. The intersections vary for each culture – all of which should be amplified in the arts.
Music and dance simply do not exist separately. In certain societies, no general terms exist for music and dance.
Start your research at the indigenous music and dance of Papua New Guinea, Suyá, and Blackfoot peoples. This is a non-comprehensive list and simply a suggestion for a starting point.
The convergence of music and dance is not monolithic and cannot be applied universally to all cultures. Generalizing will only lead to erasure of individual voices in each culture.
Take critical care in understanding the nuances of music and dance in cultures of the global majority. We must always care deeply for BBIA peoples, their individual realities, and their collective experiences as practitioners of music and dance.
Upon reading and researching, decolonize your understanding of music and dance as separate art forms. Arrive at new understandings of music and dance as you continue to learn.
Authentically envision arts in your community to include the bold and unified intersection of music and dance. Once again, there is nothing that dictates us to uphold the status quo of white supremacy aside from the colonization of our minds.
Empower musicians and dancers to critique and redefine the narratives shared when music and dance come together. Actively critique and redefine the narratives as the convergence of music and dance renews itself through each musician, dancer, and arts practitioner.
Then keep going.