So you say dance exists yet nobody created it?
Should we keep it that way?
Disclaimer: This is not a statement against copyright. I don't mean either that artists should not be paid for what they do.
During a casual conversation with a friend I got to mention how Isadora Duncan died, and when the other person asked who she was, I told him that she was the creator of contemporary dance. In just a matter of seconds I make a correction in my mind as I think of my relative ignorance of the facts and with no further thinking I suddenly say: 'Well, not the creator, maybe one of the first adventurers in it, because dance isn't created by anybody, dance just exists and it becomes a part of us once in a while.'
When I go around this idea, so many debates about intellectual property along the years come to my mind. Furthermore, I think about how long must be the waiting lists to register a patent at least in North America and then I wonder: Was dance itself created by someone in specific yet we don't know it because nobody said 'hey this is mine'?
I step away from the mental image of Gollum (yes, the one from Lord of the Rings) and immediately ask myself another question; how do you pretend that something immaterial you want to show to the world can only be yours? You may turn it into something material now that it's possible (you can make videos or photos or even writing down every step you come up with), and you may also want to sell it or make it something exclusive, but even then, it will never be fully yours if someone else saw it or if you learn it from somewhere.
Now, I stop my internal discussion because I feel that it doesn't make sense. I also tell myself, if it's not that way and if you don't try to turn it into something material and something yours, how do you show you really know about it? How do you attribute any value to it outside your mind? How would anyone remember you later for doing such thing if you don't say it's your work? The debate can be endless but before keep going with it either in my head or outside this article, despite my efforts of calming down, my mind shoots another phrase as automatically as in the first paragraph: You can create your steps, set your choreography and define the rest of the elements, but once it's out of your head and someone sees it, it doesn't belong to you anymore...
... A dancer might say 'Why not? I made it, didn't I?' ... His/her grandma would say: 'In my time, artists belonged to their audience.'
Even the idea I just exposed was also taken from somewhere else (I owe you the source), surely from any early approaches to the theory of knowledge where I saw that we change while we grasp and object or reality as well as that object or reality might change in the same process.
In any kind of limited company I am sure there are many lawyers willing to protect something that their customers just 'discovered' or 'created', but I truly believe that in art, things don't always have to become so complicated or at least not when you're trying to develop an individual experience or during your initiation process in a new discipline.
For that matter, dance is something so unique yet diverse as the people in the world and even if some dance companies struggle everyday for symmetry and uniformity (and that's also beautiful) nobody will ever dance exactly like you. And that's because as Isadora used to say, dance is a manifestation of souls and please raise your hand if you are quite certain that your soul is exactly like the one of another person (no references to soulmates allowed).
I could keep writing forever about this but for the moment I'll close this article with my answers to the questions above mentioned:
1. How do you show you really know about it?
Just dance, and if you still don't consider yourself a dancer, keep trying, never give up. The world is too big anyway and even if you're famous not everybody is going to know you.
2. How do you attribute any value to it outside your mind?
That's part of the homework you have to do with your conscience and on how mature are your own definitions of who you are and what you want.
Tip: If you make things with good energy in every class and in a toxicity free environment, that value is going to be evident, it will be shared and also out of this world. If this is impossible to accomplish, get a new dance class.
3. How would anyone remember you later for doing such thing if you don't say it's your work?
If while dancing you really reach the hearts or deep minds of people, they will remember you even if they don't know your name. There lies the importance of not doing moves mechanically but involving expression in every step.
"... because dance isn't created by anybody, dance just exists and it becomes a part of us once in a while."
Here I share some more I found about Isadora Duncan if you're interested: