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Animated Edition - Autumn 2007
The Focus: participating in a common wealth of dance
This issue's focus has been prompted by a number of things that have happened recently... Ken Bartlett, Creative Director, Foundation for Community Dance
This issue's focus has been prompted by a number of things that have happened recently. As part of our research for Making a Move, our strategy for a professional framework for community dance, we have undertaken a piece of research to map the community dance profession. Amongst other things, it has revealed that the majority of the profession work within a contemporary western tradition. I have had to reconcile these findings with the long-held view that community dance as a process is not style specific and by implication any dance style or tradition can be community dance.

In the Spring 2007 edition of Animated Jane Scott Barrett, Director of Ludus Dance, challenged us to move outside our safety zone and take account of a wider range of dances and traditions that grow out of the cultures and aspirations of the people we work with.

I have been attempting to think about all the different and diverse engagements that the people of the UK have with dance and contemplating if there are some common threads or indeed a common wealth that we can begin to share, whilst maintaining our individual passions for the kind of dancing we do. I wonder if it is possible that the 'silos' we have developed in our dancing histories can become much more of a unified continuum, with what the American choreographer Liz Lerman calls 'permeable membranes' between them, based on some shared understandings about what we do and some mutual respect for the different offerings we make.

To this end I approached artists, teachers and leaders working in a number of different styles and traditions, not an exhaustive coverage of all the dance that takes place in the UK, but indicative at least, to write about their work and what they thought the people participating got out of working with them and indeed what they themselves got out of working with community participants to see if we could identify some common themes and issues.

I am extremely grateful to these contributors, several of whom have never written about their work before, for the honesty of their personal reflections and the passion they have for the work they do, week in week out, to engage people in positive dancing experiences. Experiences they believe that are truly transforming people's lives: building self confidence and self worth, providing healthy exercise, promoting well-being, including people of all ages and abilities, supporting people to take risks and reflecting powerfully on the strong personal bonds and communities that are forged when people come together to dance.

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Animated: Autumn 2007