Hey, it’s me again! Here to discuss the concept of jargon in the news. So I don’t fall victim to the same claims I will make later, let me explain what jargon actually means. Jargon is language that is used within a particular group or area of expertise, meaning that it’s not always understood by the average person. This can be seen a lot when people are talking about medical diseases, injuries or disorders with fancy words that non-doctors wouldn’t understand. Or when you see things like, “the victim suffered contusions” which in layman’s terms means, they got a bruise. Jargon can definitely be exclusive in it’s selectiveness of who can understand it. Jargon can be dangerous in the news by losing it’s reader’s interest if they do not understand. I will provide some examples of jargon that I did not understand and had to look-up, then I’ll show you how I would fix it in order to make it more understandable for the average folk.

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Definition: A dividend is a sum of money paid regularly by a company to its shareholders out of its profits.

The fix: Boeing lifts payment to shareholders by 20 perfect, sets new $18 billion share buyback.


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Definition: A pole position means the most favorable position; a leading or dominant position.

The fix: Comcast drops bid for Fox assets, leaving Disney in the lead.


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Definition: Cryptocurrency means a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.

The fix: The generally smooth launch of bitcoin futures on Cboe Global Markets (CBOE.O) could pave the way for other digital money related products like option and ETF’s, the head of the exchange operator said in an interview on Monday.


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Definition: Grid refers to a power grid or an electrical grid meaning an interconnected network for delivering electricity from producers to consumers.

Definition: Shore up means to prop something up, or support something from falling.

The fix: Tesla switches on giant battery to save Australia’s electrical power grid.


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Definition: Acreage means an area of land, typically when used for agricultural purposes, but not necessarily measured in acres.

The fix: Interior attributed the increase in disbursements to a larger number of sales totaling higher areas of land, efforts to streamline permitting and reduce regulatory burdens, and higher oil and gas prices experienced during the year.


These are just some examples of extreme jargon I found where I could not understand what the headline or sentence meant without looking it up. The fixes made it more clear for myself and hopefully for you too. Jargon should attempt to be avoided whenever possible in order to make it clear for all readers. Keeping everyone in the know is the job of news and as journalist, we must uphold the integrity of that job at all times. Thanks for reading!


Profanity Conversation

Hey, it’s me again! Doing another assignment for my copy editing class. I think this is a great place to discuss the journalistic integrity of when it is okay to use profanity and when it is not. Because this topic is so subjective and blanket statements are hard to make for every scenario, open discussion is important; and please keep in mind that this is just my opinion on how I would handle the following scenarios.

Situation 1: A private citizen, Deborah Woodell, is upset that a new dance studio in Glassboro won’t let her wear her heirloom tap shoes in classes there. In a lengthy, private interview with your reporter, she said, “The assholes who run this studio have no respect for classic tap dancing.” There is plenty of other material in her interview that gets her point across, without uttering a profanity.

In this situation, I would keep out the profanity in the negative comment she makes about the studio owners. Woodell is a private citizen, which means she is not in the public limelight and does not wish to be. Her comments are not newsworthy by themselves because she is not someone famous making them. Given that the rest of the interview gets her point across without using a profanity, it seems pointless to make sure that specific sentence is published. It would add nothing to the story, but only succeed in making Woodell and her argument look bad, as well as possibly making the studio owners look even worse. In this situation, the profanity adds nothing to the story and Woodell is entitled to keep her private citizen status without blaring a curse word to the public.

Situation 2: When George W. Bush was running for president the first time, he was inadvertently caught on microphone as commenting to someone beside him about the “major league asshole from the New York Times.” In this case, it was inadvertent, but, given that he was running for the most powerful position in the world, it did, to an extent, reveal a bit of his character, and could reflect on his leadership capabilities.

This is a not as cut-and-dry a situation for me as the last one. Given the current political climate, it does seem that everything is up for grabs when it comes to making a presidential candidate, or president, for that matter, look bad in the public’s eye. Although Bush did not openly say that in an interview or to the reporter’s face, but only as a passing comment to the person next to him, it is very newsworthy because he is a public figure. Not only is he a public figure, but he was also running for president at the time. I think that if I didn’t publish it, someone else would. We see old interviews from Trump coming up now and there is a a magnify glass over everything he says and tweets. However, this type of scrutiny comes with holding the “most powerful position in the world”. I would use the profanity from Bush, probably bleeping it out, but so people still know what was said. He knows his every move is watched and should be careful what he says into a microphone.

Situation 3: After Larry Brown left as Sixers coach and was hired by Detroit to coach its team, there was a news conference to herald his arrival. With all the microphones, cameras and notepads ready to record his every word, he was asked why he wasn’t with the Sixers anymore, he said, “I can’t coach assholes anymore, I guess.”

In this situation, Larry Brown knew exactly what he was saying. He knew he was at a press conference and knew there would be cameras, microphones and notepads all around. He cannot say that he didn’t know what he was saying or wasn’t prepared for his words to be published. Brown also probably had some idea of what questions he would be asked, so it wasn’t like he was blindsided. Brown is also a public figure and his words are abundantly newsworthy and timely given his transfer to coach a new team. The room was filled with all different news outlets and if I didn’t publish it, someone else definitely would. I would use his words, including the profanity.

Situation 4: In an interview about their upcoming MMA fights, two Philly guys talked about what jerks they used to be, and one said, “The karate school I trained at when I was a kid probably saved me from sitting out on those steps, drinking 40s and being an asshole.”

I actually don’t consider this a negative comment that the MMA fighter said. It was actually more of a thank you to the karate school and a reflection on where he would be without MMA fighting. Both of the fighters were talking about what jerks they used to be so it wasn’t out of context to the interview. That being said, the gist of the meaning of the fighter’s words are still clear without the use of the profanity. The quote could stop right after, “drinking 40s” and still mean the same thing. There is no clear need to keep the profanity in there. In this situation, I probably would just cut the quote right before, “and being an asshole” in order to keep the interview PG, but still understand the thank you’d reflection the fighter was making.

That’s the end of my profanity conversation for now. Thanks for reading! Just remember that there is no clear right or wrong to these situations. This is just my personal take on what I would do. Hope you enjoyed and possibly learned something!


About Me

Hey all! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on this blog as it was an assignment for a journalism class a few years ago. However, a new class has brought me the opportunity to write again and I’m looking forward to what the year ahead has in store!

As you may already know, my name is Michelle Campbell. I am a senior *exasperated breath mixed with nervous laughter* at Rowan University. I am a double major in dance and journalism. Now I know this seems like a rather odd combination, which it probably is, but why limit yourself to only one of the things you love to do? Let me give you a little background on how I came to this interesting mix of majors.

I have been dancing since I was seven years old. I’d like to think I was dancing since the womb, but I was officially put into dance classes when I was seven. I used to play baseball, soccer, and take dance class. Eventually, the schedule got too hectic and equipment became too expensive, so my parents told me I had to choose one. Being that dance was my favorite, I stuck with that. Which, ironically, probably was the most expensive choice, with all the costumes, makeup, hair products, dance shoes, competition fees, etc etc. I danced all throughout middle school and high school and really found a passion for it. It’s a place where I can truly “get lost”.

Coming into college, I was planning on majoring in psychology (weird right) and minoring in dance. At Rowan, as is similar in most schools, you have to audition to be accepted into the arts program. Upon the completion of my audition, I was offered a dance scholarship from Rowan only offered to one incoming freshman each year. I was beyond excited. However, the only way I could keep the scholarship, was if I was a dance major and not a minor. So I then decided to double major in dance and psychology. But then Rowan had these silly rules where you couldn’t declare a double major until you were already a student. So, I switched my major over to dance and figured I would pick up the psychology major within my first year. Although this was all rather tedious, everything happened for a reason, because after taking one psychology course in college, I decided that psychology wasn’t for me. So I stuck with just the dance major and pondered what else I would like to do.

Throughout my vast years of school, I always loved to write. It was my favorite subject and I used to write short stories in my spare time. I’m also really passionate about politics and speaking my voice, so I thought what other way to combine these two ideas than through journalism. At the beginning of my sophomore year, a journalism major was added to my list of things to get done before graduation.

Last year I took TV Newscast with Professor Candace Kelley and this class really shaped my drive for journalism. I have a concentration in broadcast journalism and now I know I want to be on television. I would love to anchor, or maybe do an opinion column, since I love to talk about the things that I care about hehe. Don’t worry, I’m not forgetting about dance in my future goals. Dancing for a modern dance/contemporary dance theater company would be amazing, as well as choreographing work. I know these all seem sort of huge and disjointed, but why not dream big and cover as much ground as possible?

Seeing as that I have discussed my passion for dance so much, it would not come as that much of shock to know that I get my inspiration from watching dance and dancing myself. It is truly hard to pick something super specific. Every time I hear a song that I like, I immediately imagine dancing to it and the choreography process begins in my head.

Last year, I had the amazing opportunity to make my own student choreographed dance work for Rowan’s stage. I had five amazing dancers in my piece and every time I watched them perform, I felt such a sense of pride and awe at what we were able to accomplish together. Each dancer brought something new to the work that really helped shape my ideas and even sometimes created something different. Everyone in the room was a choreographer. It became so much more than I ever thought it could be and I’m looking forward to further developing it this year for my senior project. I know it sounds cocky to say I gain inspiration from my choreography, but what I really gain inspiration from is watching ideas come to life to create something beautiful, unique, and thought-provoking.

Sorry for such a long post. But I really hope you enjoyed reading.

“You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.”

-Isadora Duncan

Famous modern dancer, visionary, feminist, icon, inspiration

Farewell For Now!

If you have been following me from the beginning, then you know that this blog was created as an assignment for my journalism class and I charged myself with the experiment of combining my two majors, dance and journalism into one blog.

As the semester comes to a close, I am conflicted with the option to continue this blog or not. I would sincerely love to further explore the challenges of mixing my two passions and creating posts about something that I enjoy so dearly, however, I definitely know that I will need some time off for awhile to catch a break from the intensity of the work that accompanied this semester.

Throughout this process, I feel like I have grown as a journalist and I now know how to take and edit videos, pictures, and audio in ways that I certainly did not before. I have started to create an online presence for myself which is incredibly crucial for a journalist.

I have found a way to use my writing and reporting skills to talk about something that means a lot to me and I am very grateful for that opportunity.

I got to have some amazing interviews with some amazing people:

Leslie Elkins

Beau Hancock

And I got to create content that was different, important, and exciting for a lover of dance:

Coming Soon To Rowan 

Dancing Beyond The Competition Stage

Individuality Within Choreography

Thank you all for following along this journey with me and creating views that went past just myself and my professor! Farewell for now!

From Left to Right: Me (Michelle Campbell) and Kelly Connors performing contact improvisation Photo Courtesy of: Emily Marie Lewis

Individuality Within Choreography

Hey everyone! As a performer, I know that trying to remember a lot of choreography for a dance can be challenging, especially when there are multiple dances and multiple performances. However, when the performers are actively involved in the creation process, it makes it easier and more satisfying to execute the movement.

Individuality within choreography is something that I have learned to work with a lot since I began studying dance in college. When I can express my own feelings and styles into the movement vocabulary, then I know I am not just making a carbon copy of someone else’s dance.

“I am often working to get my dancers to know ‘when they are dancing’ rather than executing steps…you have to bring everything you know in the moment. This is different for everyone,”explained Paule Turner, dance professor at Rowan University, movement director of past and current shows, as well as the director and curator of Dance Extensions, the dance company on campus.

Choreographing a piece of work is a complex task that involves creativity, understanding of space and time, understanding of the body, musicality, and cooperation. There are classes built into the Rowan dance curriculum all about teaching students how to choreograph.

Collaboration between performer and choreographer is very important and sometimes the lines become blurred.

“I allow interpretation within my choreographic structures…your job as the performer is to put your ‘stank’ on it,”said Turner.

When I was on a competitive dance team in high school, unison was very important. Moving into a more artistic approach is what Rowan has taught me and uniformity is not always valued. 

Some choreographers enjoy drawing inspiration from the world around them and making their piece about a topic or issue. “I am inspired by ‘all’ that occurs, seen and heard, during the creative process. I firmly believe that everything is interconnected and has relevance,” said Turner.

When you have twelve minds in the room all actively contributing to the choreographic process instead of just one, there is no way that you can make irrelevant work.

Learning how to speak about issues and situations without words is what choreographers and performers aim to do. Using the art form as a podium is a skill and an obligation as an artist.

“We can learn so much from abstract investigation. It allows us to see objectively. Especially if we can train ourselves to trust what we are seeing. The mere act of inviting to see the body in motion is daring and political,” explained Turner when discussing dances’ role in society.

Using improvisational skills and an understanding of space, time, dynamics, and shape, performers are able to breakdown choreography and make it their own, while keeping it relevant to the overall theme of the performance, which is usually much more interesting to watch.

“A choreographer is not looking for their dancers to make an exact copy of the movement onto their body. Instead, it is a dancer’s job to understand the concepts and technique behind the movement, and support that understanding by adding their own personal interpretation, ” said Kelly Connors, sophomore dance major who is a student of Turner’s and will also be Vice President of Dance Extensions next year!

Enjoy this short video I put together! It gives some visual context to dealing with different choreographic structures featuring my friend Dominique Luchetti, sophomore dance major, and myself, dancing to Beau Hancock’s choreography!

Coming Soon to Rowan University: nu

Hey guys! This semester I will be performing in two of my good friend’s senior project dance pieces! You should all definitely come and check it out if you can. The show is a three part performance with a dance piece from three different choreographers. The first piece is called, “The Girl Who Cried Love”, the second piece is called, “Stroke”, and the third piece is called, “Fire/Ash…Rise”. The whole show is called nu. I interviewed one of the choreographers and one of the dancers and got some great footage together of the three pieces. Check out what we’ve been working on!

I hope you’re excited to see more! Again, the show is Saturday, April 30th, with one performance at 12 p.m. and one at 2 p.m. This will take place at Rowan University, in Bunce Hall, on Tohill stage. Hope you can all make it! Thanks for watching and reading! See you soon!

An Introspective Look into Dancing Beyond the Competition Stage

Hey everyone! This post is going to be more of a self-expression and self-understanding of how my definitions and feelings about dance have shifted. I want to share with you the intricate, maybe strange, thoughts that I have going through my head. Hopefully you all don’t think that I’ve gone insane!

This morning, Rowan University’s dance company, Dance Extensions, which I will proudly be the secretary of next year (claps!), brought a guest artist to come and teach a class. Her name was Laura Peterson and she has her own contemporary company in New York and personally knows Paule Turner, who is the director of Dance Extensions.

Laura Peterson Photo Credit: Google Images through creative commons

Peterson has a very interesting way of teaching class. She doesn’t use counts. She doesn’t answer a lot questions. She wants you to learn by watching and trying. She told us to “feel the underlying drive of the music.” The class was a lot of non-stop movement and repetition in order to get the choreography into our bodies. You know what I realized? This style of teaching is not unlike what I’ve grown accustomed to as a dancer in college.

Being on a competition team throughout elementary to high school, specific counts, unison, and uniform movement were always very important. However, I’ve learned to value a different way of moving in college. It’s not always about being perfectly in time with others. In fact, the break from unison is actually more interesting and pleasing to watch. When accidental moments of unison happen, it is that much more thrilling.

After Peterson taught the class her phrase, she broke us up into groups and told us to use the movement from the phrase to dance around the space with our group. We could repeat things, slow things down or speed things up, and we could change the order of the movement. This was a slight improvisation structure. That was the absolute most fun and interesting part of the class. Making quick and bold decisions on the spot to create an aesthetic look that was intriguing and that people would want to watch.

“I enjoyed watching people make their own decisions to see where the dance would go,” said Hailey Hubbs, sophomore dance major who also took Peterson’s class.

I think as only regular viewers of dance, people rely on uniformity and see that as being the goal. I want others to appreciate the difficulty it takes to not be together but also be super aware of their surroundings.

I’ve learned that I’m no longer interested in looking the same as everyone around me and I am no longer interested in choreographing pieces where everyone must look the same. I have much more faith in myself to make smart decisions and not rely on set information and rules that were given to me. As I prepare to become a choreographer, I wish to teach my dancers to trust their instincts and not aim to look exactly like me. Individuality is much more encouraged outside of the competition stage and I am forever grateful for being exposed to a different way of thinking and dancing.

parsons dance company
Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Dance Company Executing Improvised Shapes Photo Credit: Google images through creative commons

Leslie Elkins: Contact Improvisation and its Relationship to Democracy

Hey y’all! Sorry haven’t heard from me in awhile! Been a very busy couple of weeks! However, I have something to make it up to you that I think you will thoroughly enjoy!

This weekend I had the lovely pleasure of meeting with Leslie Elkins, a dance professor at Rowan University who teaches classes like, dance history, dance improvisation, dynamics of human movement, modern dance technique, and even contact improvisation. Elkins is well-versed in the dance world and still performs and choreographs all over. I have had many classes with her and look up to her a lot. She is one of the smartest people I know and interprets dance and its relationship to society in a way unlike anyone I’ve ever met.

This interview was focused on contact improvisation. To explain what this means I will use Elkins’ own words, “Contact improvisation is a dance form built around touch between people. The dancers come into contact with one another and let the point of contact define the relationship and the movement. It deals with momentum. It deals with trust, strength, vulnerability, and cooperation.”

In this interview, Elkins explains how contact improvisation relates to democracy. Now you may not think that those two concepts go hand-in-hand; however, after listening to Elkins’ words, you may have a different perspective of the role dance can play in society.

Hope you enjoyed her words! Also side-note, in the thumbnail picture, taken by myself, Elkins is performing contact improvisation with her skeleton, Soma, that she keeps in her office! See you guys next week!

Behind The Scenes: The Secrets of Backstage

I want to take this time to thank everyone for the amazing support that I received about my last blog post. I had so many likes and shares on Facebook and received some amazing feedback and it was all really great to hear so thank you all very much! I hope that you continue to enjoy my posts and keep tuning in! 99834455_ac9a8a66ab_o

This blog post is going to sway a little bit from the dance aspect and I encourage you all to read on because behind the scenes footage can sometimes be the most interesting.

As part of the Rowan Theater and Dance Department, I am required to take practicum hours. These are hours spent working on shows off of the stage, like lighting, set building, costumes, etc. We are also required to take some sort of craft class like costuming, which I am enrolled in this semester. Being a part of the class, I decided to do wardrobe crew for my practicum hours this semester.

I was involved with the Rowan theater show, The Women, last weekend and was in charge of the immense amount of costumes that the performers had. Working off the stage is a lot different than working on the stage and it really makes you appreciate all the hard work that goes into the backstage world.

Being on the other side of things really gave me a fresh look at how everyone’s cooperation and involvement is necessary to make a show run smoothly. As wardrobe crew, I sometimes had to be at the theater two hours before the actors to make sure that all the costumes were cleaned, steamed, repaired, in order, etc. I also had to stay after all the performers had left to make sure all the costumes were accounted for and that things that needed to be cleaned, repaired, etc. were set aside. It was definitely a grueling job with long hours.

During the run of the show, I stayed in the dressing room and helped the performers with all their costuming emergencies. I zipped, buttoned, pinned, and tied a plethora of clothing and even had to bobby-pin these gigantic wigs on four girls each and every night.

I had to handle many different questions, no matter how rudely expressed, with poise and professionalism, which can certainly be taxing. People’s sense of entitlement can be a little over-the-top sometimes and the theater world is always filled with drama.

This experience really helped me to keep in mind how I should treat my backstage crew the next time I am the one performing on stage. ALWAYS say please and thank you and try not to take out frustration on people who have no control over those areas of tension.

Although I have focused on some negatives, there were also positives to this experience. The show was half Rowan students and half professional actors which was pretty amazing because I got to meet some incredible people. I even met the woman who was Jennifer Lawrence’s mother in Silver Linings PlaybookCheryl Williams.

Although this wasn’t totally dance related, I thought it was a learning experience and interesting to get a peak into the other side of the stage. So next time you go yell at the wardrobe people for a slight malfunction, remember how much time and energy they put into your costumes looking clean and tidy each and every performance.

If you haven’t seen The Women yet it is being performed in Philadelphia at the EgoPo Theater for another two weeks! Go check it out! It’s a great show about feminism and social norms. Thanks for reading and tune in next week for some amazing dance photos taken by yours truly!



Beau Hancock Q&A: An Interesting Perspective

Beau Hancock in his natural habitat Photo Credit Of: Michelle Campbell

Hello everyone! This week, I had the wonderful pleasure of doing a one-on-one interview with the fabulous Beau Hancock! He is one of the dance professors at Rowan University and has personally taught me and has become a huge inspiration in my life. He is highly respected within the theater and dance department at Rowan, as well as all over the world. He offers a very eloquently spoken perspective on the dance world and it’s involvement with gender, society, and the media.

Q.) How long have you been dancing and how did you get involved in the dance field?

A.) I always say all my life, which I think is pretty true. I have a sense that I was probably dancing in the womb and even before I was taking formal dance classes, I was definitely moving in a dance-like way. I mean, I asked to be put into dance classes. It wasn’t something that my parents ever decided for me. I had a cousin who took classes and I went to one of her recitals in the spring and fell in love. I think I got to go backstage after the show and was totally enamored with the whole process, from the dressing rooms with the special lights, to the foot lights on the stage, to the magic of that stage moment….I think I started taking official classes when I was three or four, and those were tap classes.  I started jazz a few years later….I was in a studio that would perform at competitions so I started doing the studio jazz-tap thing. Yeah, I would say that was about eleven or twelve.

Q.) How was it like to be a male in a female dominated field?

A.) I think growing up there was only one other class, literally only one class, so one year from the age of three to eighteen that there was another boy in my studio class. So I didn’t have a peer. I mean, if I would go to competitions, there would always be a handful of boys from other studios, but they weren’t my friends, you know, I didn’t really know them. In my small town studio that I grew up in there may have actually been a point where I was the only boy….that was the only dance environment I had been in and it was a strange shock when I got to college and entered into my freshman year at the University of Kansas and had this group of men dancing with me…..

All of my friends knew, like it wasn’t hidden, but I also never talked about it….I would have to leave basketball practice early to go to dance and I remember feeling very strange about that moment and people would ask me, “what are you doing?” and I don’t remember lying about it, but I wasn’t super transparent….

They felt very separate, I had my dance life and my sports-high school life.

Q.) If you had to, what would you give modern dance’s definition?

A.) So modern dance is a form of experimental dance that came from ideas in the late 19th, early  20th century in both America and Germany, and it was, the idea of modern dance came from this desire to explore the expressive potential of the human body. And the early pioneers of the modern dance movement were really using their bodies as a laboratory for different ways to communicate with an audience; new techniques, new methods for presenting choreography. And it wasn’t just about movement invention, yes they were exploring actions in the body that were new to concert dance, but  they were also working with choreographic forms. Something that really is kind of a hallmark of modern dance history is that sense of form and compositional structure being investigated. And it’s really filtered into the ballet world now. Basically contemporary ballet, which is this new term and it’s all hot, is ballet steps with modern dance compositional ideas.

Q.) How do you think this definition has changed?

A.) There’s this sweeping across genre. For the early modern dance pioneers, if you were a Graham dancer, you only went to Graham classes. You would get kicked out of the cool kid group if you went and took ballet classes from Balanchine if you took classes at even another modern dance studio. You really had to sort of hitch your cart to one horse in those days and now the line between these forms, between these particular genres of dance are really going away. It’s far more porous, the separation of one form from the other….Those boundaries of what define those movements of dance are really quite fluid now.

Q.) Can you comment on your opinion of dance in today’s media?

A.) …There’s a sensuality in the movement vocabulary. Sometimes very blatant sensuality in the movement vocabulary and I will say that that is the most prevalent mode of dance out there. Like every music video has this super sensual, erotic dancing in it. Even award shows, like if you watch the Grammy’s, the movement that you see tends to be this almost erotic, sensual movement….It’s easier than ballet, it’s easier than jazz, it’s easier even than some forms of breakdancing and hip-hop. This sensual vocabulary, because we’re so inundated by it, it’s become, in many ways, our American dancing culture….It comes out in all of the media channels. It’s on YouTube, it’s on, you know, the car ad, it’s in all of the music videos for sure. It’s in the Super Bowl Halftime Every  moment that there’s opportunity for dance outside the concert dance sphere, it’s kind of that movement modality.

Q.)  Do you have any strong opinions for or against So You Think You Can Dance?

A.) I don’t watch it. I think I may have seen three episodes in the first season. I wouldn’t say that I don’t like it, I would say that it reminds me of when I was in the studio and there is a particular brand of physicality that that show promotes. And it goes to that sensual place. If you threw together in a pod this erotic sensual dance of music videos with ballet technique, and you like, stewed that up for a couple of hours, that would be So You Think You Can DanceThat is the stew of that show and both of those forms are probably the most privileged forms that we have in America. And so my main issue with that show  has been that they try to promote diversity by brining in Bollywood or hip-hop dancers adding in these other forms, but they all end up being filtered through that erotic ballet….Anyone that has been successful on that show, from my eye, and I say that from having watched very little of it, the dancers that end up being successful are the ones that can do that qualitative range.

Q.) Do you think that there’s anything the media can do to change society’s views on what is dance or what is classified as “good” dance?

A.) It was really interesting to see the Sia videos. [Me: The one with Shia LeBeouf?] Yes. To see his body doing the same physicality as this crazy, from Dance Moms, reality T.V. show, like bendable, young, sexy ballet. She’s doing the sexy ballet. But to see Shia LaBeouf, and his hairy man body doing the same vocabulary, I was like, oh yeah this is great. Because this is offering another pallet for this wider market of dance. And the more opportunities for situations like that, to see other body types.

Another show that I really love is Prancing Elites They’re southern, black, gay, jay-setting team. So they do, it’s kind of vogueing. I love that it’s on…and that it is a body type that you wouldn’t see on So You Think You Can Dance, that it isn’t So You Think You Can Dance vocabulary. That it is movement that is challenging gender norms and it’s challenging who can perform, where they can perform, and how. So there are things that are happening, there are these movements and splintering out of other options. But of course, you know, we don’t ever see Indian classical dancers in mass media, or rarely. The pool of what dance is shown to a wide audience is pretty slim and it tends to be either erotically charged or classical ballet driven.

And so finding other expressive modes, which going back to the definition of modern dance, is what modern dance was all about….These maverick, pioneer women said, fuck that! I’m taking off my corset, I’m taking off these toe shoes, and I’m finding a way that I can dance that is aggressive, that isn’t pretty. That’s ugly and angular and stark and that says something deep and powerful rather than just light and airy….As modern dance becomes accepted in particular artistic circles, and in that blending that we were talking about earlier with other forms, so as these big name artists become popular, I have to say, I look at their work and sometimes wonder if the guts of modern dance has been bled out, out of a desire to appeal to a wider audience….

We’re constantly being critiqued and the beauty of open artistic platform is that it’s not about critique, it’s not about good and bad. It’s about how something can move us. It’s not about just pretty. It’s about deep beauty. And deep beauty, I think goes beyond surface, it goes beyond pretty, it goes beyond just something being likable. It’s a hunting for something that can resonate and generally the best work, the dance work that I think about that is the most powerful resonates past it’s age….The work can be seen at any moment and is still resonant. And I hope that within this blending, it doesn’t get watered down. I don’t think thats happening, I think it just gives more possibilities for that potency. I think that potency, theres more places for that to go. More potential.

Q.) Do you have any advice for up and coming dancers/performers/artists?

A.) Stick to your guns. And what I mean by that is explore enough to find out what your voice is and what you’re really into and refine that voice. Refine that voice through practice. Refine that voice through study. And by voice I mean your movement vocabulary, your range as a choreographer, your artist’s voice, your pallet of tools….Keep those tools polished and don’t set them down out of fear and don’t forget about them out of the need to make a living. Don’t get sidetracked by these larger ideas of success that American culture hoists upon us. Sticking to your guns also means creating your own value system and living by it. And not allowing those larger cultural ideas about what being successful in this world is to stop you from chasing those values, those dreams, those dancing cells that we’re trying to cultivate.

I wish I could add everything that he said into this because he has a great perspective and outlook on this topic, however, sifting is unfortunately necessary. I hope that Hancock’s words give you a new lens to look through when you think about the dance world and it’s relationship to society. I wish everyone could get the chance to have a conversation with Beau Hancock because he has really informed opinions and beliefs. Thank you for reading and I am sorry for the length. It was super difficult to take things out because I felt that it was all really important for people to hear.

Beau Hancock Doing His Thing Photo Credit of: Michelle Campbell