The LP introduced our cohort of Create Change Fellows to its values on the first day. As a proud graduate affiliated with the organization, I promised to uphold those values "in whatever [I] produce: Be a Creative Catalyst, Community-Centered, Neighborly, People-Powered, Active Listener and Learner, Collaborative and Cross-Pollinating by Design, and Propelled by Love." It was after reading through the description of these values as a group on that day that I started to feel a sense of alignment with The LP.
Immediately, I began scribbling in my notes: WHAT ARE SLMDANCES' CORE VALUES? Am I clear in articulating those values in my practices?
It occurred to me that taking the time to dig deep into home - that is this organization I am building - is valuable. That if I have clarity and can tangibly articulate my mission, vision and values, I will attract people who are equally committed to and share those values. Knowing and articulating those foundational building blocks will create that sense of alignment as I carry out my work on a day to day basis. And that sense of alignment is key to the strategic use of art and culture to affect change.
It is why we start with technique class before we create and perform dances that will affect all those who experience them.
as the opportunities came, agonizing to create a company name, organizing a humble business structure with the help of a few interns, and bartering for my overhead needs -- I was taking a leap of faith, and even though I had a plan I didn't really know how things would unfold.
What I discovered in that time is that with every new opportunity the core of SLMDances is surfacing and revealing itself. Those values are not only becoming more clear to me, but becoming more clear to those communities that I feel a part of, and to whom I feel accountable. My goal to affect change, to compel people to feel human through dance is just about honoring all those communities, and furthering/creating a more beautiful, just world -- the best way I know how.
And so, as I forge into 2014 with the next chapter of SLMDances -- scrapping the project-to-project structure to work consistently with a group of dancers over an extended period of time, turning up the volume on my business structure, and presenting my work more than ever before -- I am proud to say that SLMDances is steeped in the following values:
May these values continue to guide the vision of SLMDances' work.