Authenticity versus commercialism

Comments by Fred Bijster’s

Where is the Magic in our minds?

The words bored, tired, disappointed as mentioned in your research coming from judges, competitors and audience may tell us something about dancing as it is experienced nowadays.

Missing is authenticity, creativity, originality, artistry and ndividualism.

Those are hard words of criticism towards all that do it and everything that is produced nowadays. Of course we can take this all for granted and tell ourselves to try harder and make it better. To please everybody involved more than we do now. But looking back in the development of dancing, I most certainly see development in general on all those issues mentioned. For sure dancing nowadays is much more professional and shows more knowledge and understanding of the culture, mind and physics behind it than ever before. Nobody in his right mind can deny dancing has seen an enormous development over the years. Apart from the question of agreeing with it, the development is there. Never before were the efforts in time and money to get educated and improve so huge.

Where do the words boring, tired and disappointed come from

Is there a different angle to look at it? Yes, there is…. We all live, apart from our dancing world, in a “normal world”. And guess what we see and hear there? Isn’t it very much the same? People in general are bored, tired and disappointed. Everybody trying to be “more clever”, instead of authentic, creative, original and artistic. Individualism is not appreciated.

We are all overdosed

Add to this that we are all overdosed: by information, education and top-quality productions on TV and in theatres and so. Overflooded by “expert-opinions” on everything every day that will tell you why it wasn’t as good as we thought it was. And that it was done before. We live in a mediacracy, we are dictated what to think and say and…we follow up.
With this as a general mindsetting you can’t win as a dancer. We all become “experts”. We all have an “opinion”. We all “know” what is going on. It is so refreshing to meet people that allow themselves to be entertained, have no opinion, but simply allow the magic in. Like children do.

The good news is that those people still exist. The bad news is they do not come to our competitions anymore. Why don’t we all work on getting those people in again and involve them in what we do; give them a hell of a night.
Why focus on the “experts” and ignore the ones that do appreciate what dancing can give us? Mind you, I’m not talking about the real experts: you can see them in Blackpool on the frontseats and thoroughly enjoying the dancing that is presented to them. One time more than the other, but always there… interested and positive. Personally I think that a lot of the negative comments come from people who try to be “more clever”. And that is about the biggest mistake one can make (but also a very common one). I’m glad I can still enjoy the dancing as presented and the feeling it sometimes gives me. So at least you have one who appreciates what you are doing! Thank you dancers and coaches for this.

PS: I remember a wonderful story of a famous coach who had a new girlfriend. She was not involved in dancing at all. He took her with him to Blackpool, the pinnacle of the finest dancing you can see. She thoroughly enjoyed her first night. So he took her with him for the second night. And her comment was: “But this is what we already saw last night?” Now I did many things in life more often than once and I can assure you I wasn’t bored, tired or disappointed. I loved every minute of it and never gave authenticity, creativity, originality or artistry a second thought! Just did it… Again and again.

Fred Bijster

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