As the contemporary field has changed and developed under the influence of social media, popular culture, terroism, a pandemic, and now, our new virtual reality, there is a lasting figure in this debris: The Artist. Surprisingly few of the experiences and practical working methods of contemporary makers have been recorded, this Anthology serves as a time-capsule and guide for thinking bout moving though scarcity and toward a seemingly impossible future.”
– Raja Feather Kelly
These essays offer an opportunity to consider how we are each complicit as well as inter-dependent.
The value of the artists goes beyond the shows they create. Their work resonates throughout society in critical and creative thinking, collaborative work environments, problem-solving, dreaming. Artists change space.
When we canceled the 2020 Bates Dance Festival, I wondered what our programming would look like if we couldn’t gather. How could we continue to engage dancers while we were separated physically? This was truly a moment for reminding the world that even though we cannot dance in person it doesn’t mean the dancing stops. Dance thrives in engaged dialogue.
Curated by Choreographer Raja Feather Kelly, 16 artists will respond to a series of prompts via interview, essay, and other prose over the next year. The work is iterative so that these commissioned artists can respond to each other and an opportunity for more dialogue can emerge. This anthology hopes for a radical imagining of the future.
For me, these essays offer an opportunity to consider how we are each complicit as well as inter-dependent and where our agency lies – in the performing arts field, and in this changed world we’re all navigating. I’m grateful to connect with the BDF community and all readers through this work and these conversations.
And I’m deeply grateful to these dancers/teachers/thinkers for offering a snapshot into this time and space and a future we can imagine together.
-Shoshona Currier, Director, Bates Dance Festival
This project is supported, in part, by a grant from the The Onion Foundation.