When Hertiage Stands in the Way

by on June 4, 2015

   Creativity and the things that are produced from it typically stems from the familiar. What could be more recognizable to one’s self than where they came from and what their culture celebrates? However, does the heritage from where one comes hinder the ability to create and expand pieces beyond just that scope?

   Dancers, choreographers, companies, and the like possess the full right to take what they desire from past performances and throw out others. Sort of like a breakup: remember the good, junk the bad, and de-clutter that which just isn’t working anymore.

   Farooq Chaudhry, a former dancer and now producer for the choreographer Akram Khan, believes that heritage is not only irrelevant to pieces and dancers, but altogether a hindrance. He says that pieces were never meant to be recreated or reproduced exactly as it was first intended. It is the changing and meshing of cultures and times that make pieces malleable and enjoyable.

   There are many staunch dance traditionalists who believe the past plays an integral part in the structure of performance pieces, and that they should be revered and performed often to celebrate the impact they have left on the art world. Dance— as has gone the way of technology, music, fashion— will always look to its past for inspiration. However, looking to the future and quietly (reverently) closing the door on previous wave-makers in the dance world allows for the freedom to build, create, and thrive in an ever-evolving realm of moving art.