Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Locavore Dance Movement

I love India. I really, really do.

But after watching now for 20+ years dancers constantly heading back there for six months at a time to train, establish their career, get their photographs taken, costumes designed, supplies purchased, and earn their stripes as a performer, I have to say: Enough!

Perhaps this was necessary in the beginning, but now, why?

There are wonderful teachers here, knowledgable and hardworking artists, and resources galore. How do we ever expect to become a global art form if we work to keep it as localized and regionalized as possible?

Yes, we don't have the perfect kanjeevaram silk that Chennai makes best or perhaps the tailors for Indian costuming...but why can't we expand what that costume can be by using the materials available to us in our own neighborhood? It is not blasphemous to support your local businesses, and you'll certainly be expanding the number of people who come to learn about the work you do if artists become less India dependent.

That's what seems to be the problem. Do you need tomatoes from Italy to make a delicious pasta sauce? It's actually not going to be that great unless you're IN Italy. If instead, you opt for your farmer's market tomatoes, yes the taste of the sauce will be different, but frankly, the quality will be higher! Indian classical dancers should really start to adopt the locavore food movement except in terms of using the resources around us. Perhaps our flavor will become more "Americanized" but if you accept that with tradition and art comes change and you are NOT accepting diminishing quality, it becomes less problematic than one might think.

P.S. - I linked in Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma because that's where a lot of my food analogies spark from. Maybe you will be similarly inspired.

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