Q: How do you think that dance can be used as a platform for social justice issues?
How can it not be? That's what we're here for--that's what I'm here for. It may be the Aquarian in me, but I'm all about what can be changed for the better in the big scheme of things. In the performing arts and in dance, we have a real opportunity to not only reflect the society that we live in, but make the people who don't feel like they fit in feel a home in it. We can reflect the change that we want to see within that society. We can comment on the good, the bad, the ugly, the traumatic injustices, all of it. We have so many choices and opportunities in art--we can make it abstract, make it literal, we can create a narrative…And as an audience member, you get to witness a dance and you get to take it home! You take home your memory of the work and what stuck with you. Whatever that is, it comes from your perception of the world. Those are your projections from your past and present. It’s your perspective, your prejudices, your biases, and everything else.
I've learned so much about myself through watching dance, especially work that does reflect society and take a stance against social injustice. I get to go home and ask myself, “What am I taking away from this? How am I even perceiving this that tells me about myself and my walk through life?” I believe it's an amazing gift and tool for change.
As artists, we have to ask, “What do we really want to say when we can say it?” And whether our audiences are present virtually or in real life, how can we remain present? How can we connect and remember that we can be different and still respect each other? We should shed light on communities that are underprivileged and are unseen, and remind them, and all of society that no one should be made to feel invisible. There are so many opportunities to be creative, inclusive, direct and honest. However we decide to interact, we should do so with meaning and purpose.
Catherine Kirk is a performing artist from Dallas, Texas. She cultivated her passion for dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts before graduating from New York University Tisch School of the Arts with a B.F.A. Catherine has completed programs with Springboard Danse Montreal, Movement Invention Project, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and the Gaga Intensive in Tel Aviv where she performed works by Fernando Melo, Sharon Eyal, Ohad Naharin, Andrea Miller, and Robert Battle. Since then, Catherine has worked and performed with Helen Simoneau Danse, UNA Productions, Burr Johnson, and Jasmine Hearn. In 2013, Catherine gained her yoga certification through The Perri Institute for Mind and Body and became a member of Kyle Abraham’s dance company, A.I.M where she continues to perform and work as their Education and Marketing Associate. Catherine sustains a teaching yoga practice, dabbles in photography, continues to dedicate her time off stage in arts administration, and lives in her artistic practice through her ancestry, her faith, and her hope to remain curious.