WakeUp! Waltz was a month long dance project performed daily on rooftops around the city of Chicago with the purpose of inspiring daily commuters and challenging them to reconsider their immediate environment.
We too often segment the world; placing certain activities in particular locations or people in confined groups. WakeUp!Waltz was an opportunity to throw mainstream performance expectations/spaces to the wind and bring movement, art, and inspiration to an atypical setting. The project was a great example of passionate individuals extracting their craft and exposing it to a wider audience base.
In a month long project, a company of dancers were set on three rooftops scattered around the city of Chicago for daily morning performances. As a choreographer I was deeply honored to create work and contribute to the effort because, to me, it represented a classic example of "play" and experimentation. Without a traditional audience or performance setting, the company of dancers were often unknowing of those consuming the work. The audience was on a train speeding by or glancing out from their office window. The goal was simply to emanate joy and this alone would hopefully put a smile on someone's face…whenever they happened to be watching. Therefore, without audience feedback or energy, dancers had to truly rely on their joy for dance and interest in creating art. To keep the performances interesting for themselves they had to experiment continuously and revel in the "play" of performance.
The application for our youth: Creativity is not always about creating something new. Sometimes, it's about taking something that already exists and shedding new light on it, throwing it into different contexts, or reshaping. Instead of segmenting and pigeonholing communities, ideas, activities we need to encourage youth to do the exact opposite; to improve on existing things and follow their pure interest or joy for the subject. Use your milk cartons to build rocket ships, take your bike apart to build a robot, and maybe even dance on rooftops. The sky is the limit!
WakeUp!Waltz reminded me to take what I love and share it, even in an unconventional way. Hopefully it inspired even just one kid on their way to school to deepen and expand their creative voice.