Cancel
Advanced Search
KEYWORDS
CATEGORY
AUTHOR
MONTH

Please click here to take a brief survey

Community Supported Dancing
Bryan Mitchiner, 10 Dec 09

Former Worldchanging intern Bryan Mitchner has recently returned from his study abroad adventure in Russia and China, and has brought home some exciting tales to share. What follows is his story about the power of shared experience, and his discovery of what he has decided to call Community Supported Dancing (CSD).


We often talk about Community Supported Agriculture here at Worldchanging -- in fact we've even talked about Community Supported Forests and Fisheries. And in line with the theme, I would now like to introduce Community Supported Dancing. With all the same benefits of these other community supported endeavors (mainly, simplifying an activity by using the power of a group), CSD really nails down community in terms of community building.

dancing%20in%20china.jpg

I experienced Community Supported Dancing (though I'm sure there was no such name for it) in the first city I visited in China: Suifenhe, on the border of Russia. Though it probably has something to do with my abundant love to dance, I was blown away by my experience here. As a couple of friends and I walked the crowded streets of Suifenhe at night, we began to hear music and followed our ears to a public square filled with people. The square was overflowing with rows of people in what resembled line dancing (forwards and backwards movement rather than side to side). Each song (and there were many) had its own routine. When I hear music, it's hard for me not to bust a move or two, so, we jumped in.

And the community was fully supportive. Noticing our interest, the Chinese were extremely encouraging and supported our effort. It got to the point that when we tried to leave, they were hollering for us to come back. After an encore performance, we left with handshakes and smiles.

We discovered that the cultural tradition of group dancing happens in city centers all across China. We learned that the dance is community oriented in all possible aspects, and everyone is encouraged to be involved: parents, children, grandparents, young couples and even foreigners.

Community Supported Dancing has many implications for the Chinese people that could have an astonishing effect on other people's lives and communities. In addition to bringing the entire community together, CSD also encourages physical activity. The Chinese Government calls it "sports dancing." I'll be honest, as I was working to keep up with the four-year-old on my left and the middle-aged fella in front of me, I definitely broke out a sweat. So something as simple and fun as dancing, in effect, maintains a healthy Chinese population.

While China's dancing tradition just speaks to the overall beauty of Chinese culture, it undoubtedly is something we could learn from in the United States. American culture seems, to me, to be too stratified in regards of generations. Sure Americans love to dance, but for the most part we do it as separate generations. The only similar experience I can draw from here at home is of a wedding. Everyone dances with everyone at weddings, and it's an all around good time. Imagine a weekly, public wedding dance party in your community bringing all people together to meet and enjoy each other. I can't imagine anything better.

If you know of any similar programs in the USA or around the world, we wold love to hear about them in the comments below.

Bookmark and Share


Comments

I learned during an Americorps term that while you are in rhythm with someone, it is basically impossible to have negative feelings about that person. This applies to everything from throwing a ball back and forth to dancing. It seems to support your CSD idea.


Posted by: Pat on 9 Dec 09

There is a burgeoning contra dance movement in the U.S. Popular in the 1970s, especially in New England, contra dancing is based in English/Scottish and other European traditional folk dances. It sounds similar to what you describe (lines of people partner dancing together - sometimes combined with square dancing).

Some of the original groups in the Northeast have been on-going since the 1970s and 1980s and it also seems to be experiencing a renaissance with a younger generation. It is great fun, inexpensive, community-oriented, social, and good exercise.


Posted by: J Barrett on 9 Dec 09

We can certainly create these programs or simply go out on the streets and start dancing...well if you don't get arrested for being crazy. But seriously, this is an inspiration.

"I am here to serve."
The Window Man


Posted by: The Window Man on 10 Dec 09

Hi guys! I absolutely recommend the green roof portal http://www.greenroofs.gr Pls also visit the corresponding fb page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Roofs-in-Greece/137225421299


Posted by: massimiliano82 on 14 Dec 09

Post A Comment

Please note that comments will remain open for only 14 days after the article is posted. While previous comments will remain visible, attempts to post new comments after this period will fail. This helps stop comment spam, so your forebearance is appreciated.

The Worldchanging comments are meant to be used for further exploration and evaluation of the ideas covered in our posts. Please note that, while constructive disagreement is fine, insults and abuse are not, and will result in the comment being deleted and a likely ban from commenting. We will also delete at will and without warning comments we believe are designed to disrupt a conversation rather than contribute to it. In short, we'll kill troll posts.

Finally, please note that comments which simply repost copyrighted works or commercial messages will be summarily deleted.

REMEMBER PERSONAL INFO?
Yes No

NAME


EMAIL ADDRESS


URL


COMMENTS



EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO:

YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS:


MESSAGE (optional):


Search Worldchanging

Worldchanging Newsletter Get good news for a change —
Click here to sign up!


Worldchanging2.0


Website Design by Eben Design | Logo Design by Egg Hosting | Hosted by Amazon AWS | Problems with the site? Send email to tech /at/ worldchanging.com
©2012
Architecture for Humanity - all rights reserved except where otherwise indicated.

Find_us_on_facebook_badge.gif twitter-logo.jpg