Just like leadership, dancing is a co-creation that embraces the power of being in service to something greater than ourselves
29 April is International Dance Day, an initiative set aside by the International Dance Council in Paris to celebrate and promote public awareness of the rich value of dance. The date was chosen because it is the birthday of famed French dance artist Jean-Georges Noverre one of the creators of modern ballet.
In Australia, the field of professional dance comprises non-profit organisations and small businesses that run very lean operations dependent on government funding and the generosity of donations to pay their artists, staff, and production costs. This makes the dance industry extremely vulnerable to social and economic change. Over the last two years, with so many events being cancelled, performance artists have had to radically adapt, and many have lost their livelihoods. International Dance Day is a day to celebrate and show our support for these performers by committing to help them recover into a robust creative industry.
Here at Aspirall, we are passionate supporters of the arts, we regularly celebrate and appreciate the art of dance, attending performance events and even utilising the power of dance in our work. We are long term patrons supporting the philanthropic efforts of The Sydney Dance Company.
What does leadership have to do with dance?
Dance is an ancient art that requires many similar qualities to a strong, transformational leader.
Flexibility and grace
The grace and flow required of a dancer are reminiscent of the flexibility and fluidity of a strong leader. Leadership does not always go to plan, we can lose our timing, forget our steps, and yes, we can fall. A flexible leader understands that they must find a way to move forward, adapt, improvise and create an opportunity for a misstep to emerge into a creative advantage.
Resilience and vulnerability
Where some would see a fall as a failure, a robust principal dancer will see it as an opportunity to strengthen. Whether correcting course or simply refining our delivery, a mistake becomes a valuable asset in moving forward. The invitation for each of us as leaders is to recover, using our vulnerable moment as an opportunity and the strength it truly is, bringing us back to our humanity and the essence of who we are, bringing all of us forward to what is now possible, as the dancer brings the entire being, body, mind and spirit to the dance.
Dancing is a co-creation, and it aims to produce beauty that is greater than the sum of the individual dancers. A strong leader recognises the power of being in service to something greater than themselves and even greater than the organisation. As we step into this service for the greater good, we set aside our individual ego and create, promote, and allow a collaborative creation to emerge.
Trust and courage
Dance is the formation of an intimate connection of trust between partners and members of a troupe. Leading a team is an intimate, close contact sport; those that succeed beyond what can be imagined do so from a place of deep humanity. Being trustworthy, reliable and courageous makes us an ally to all.
Momentum, strength, determination, and balance
A dancer puts their body on the line in every performance, they hold nothing back, and all of their virtues come forward to deliver something extraordinary out of nothing. As leaders, we are in a constant dance to balance the elements that create momentum to achieve the ambitious and bold vision.