I have recently been in a situation dominated by “either, or” and it has prompted me to think about this in terms of dance education.

In (dance) education, consumers- and many providers- seem stuck on classifying everything. Rating everything. Judging everything. (Read my article for Dance Advantage on why I refer to the current generation of dancers as “The Hybrids”. ) I find myself frustrated.

Why either, or? Why this and not that? Why what I like and not what I could use more of? Why me instead of you?

What about “and”?

Liz Lerman has been the the most recent “guest thinker” in my classroom. (By this, I mean that I shared some of her words from Hiking the Horizontal, described her work, showed video excerpts, and some of her lectures available online). As a class, explored dance as a means to connect to self, self to group, group to group. We were examining what we have to express and how how go about expressing it. We entered conversations about value, purpose, and measurement.

I shared this talk by Lerman at Simon Fraser University.

In it, Lerman talks about shifting the spectrum of measurement from top down or bottom up to sideways- making room for everything to be seen and valued. She also beautifully explains the catalysts for her varied aspects of work.

I used this as part of the students’ final exam. Create your spectrum- what is at the polarized ends? How do you measure it- vertically, horizontally, circularly? Where do you fall right now? Why? Where have been before and where are you headed next?

There is power in “and”.

My career has depended on it. My experience has depended on it. Hasn’t yours?