It is a common refrain from women in dance music.
It is also a mantra of those in the music business who have had to adapt to the changes that have swept through the industry.
The trend is not to change.
“It’s about creating a dance-forward culture, and creating that culture will be a challenge for dance music as a whole,” says Traci Leach, a founding partner of the New York-based company, Danceworks, which operates several dance studios and clubs in the United States and Europe.
Dance is not dead.
But there is no need to throw your hands up and say it is.
The industry, after all, has been on a trajectory for more than a decade.
In the early 2000s, the number of female-led dance companies in the U.S. was small.
Now it has more than 1,300.
The number of women in corporate leadership is rising.
And, thanks to a growing number of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, dance is now an integral part of many people’s lives.
“Dance is a universal art form that can be enjoyed by everyone,” says Leach.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that dance can be a part of our lives.”
Leach says the goal is to be the first female-dominated, dance-focused company in the country, one that will create a community of dancers and artists.
“You want to create a sense of community where people can come and talk about the art form and have a great time,” she says.
The company’s goal is also to make dance accessible to a wider audience, especially to women who may not have a dance background.
Leach envisions Danceworks as an alternative to mainstream dance venues that may not cater to female dancers and might not even have an extensive repertoire.
“When we opened our doors to the public in the fall of 2014, we were looking for an audience of dancers, especially those who were not dancers, to learn how to dance,” she explains.
“There were so many barriers to that audience and they didn’t really understand what it was like to have the time to learn.”
Leache believes that there are many women who have not even tried to learn to dance and are not even sure what to do.
“If you have no experience, you are going to fall in love with it, but there is a huge disconnect between the person that you are learning and the person who is going to be listening to your music,” she adds.
“People are looking for a person who can relate to them.”
As part of this project, Leach and Danceworks are offering a series of workshops to teach the public how to become dancers and to help them find a place to perform.
Leaches says the company will be offering the classes online for free for three weeks starting Oct. 31, with more to follow.
She hopes to offer free classes through the end of November and in the spring.
Danceworks is also collaborating with a number of dance schools and community organizations to offer workshops.
Leache says she hopes to create an environment where people of all ages can come together and learn from each other.
“I hope that we can provide a place where people from all walks of life can learn to be dancers,” she said.
“That is what I want to do with the future of dance.
I want people to come together, and we can create something that they can look back on and say, ‘That was great.'”
Danceworks founder Traci Lee.
(Photo: Courtesy of Danceworks)Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1qJhqXl