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Robert Abrams
The World Trade Center and 9/11
West Coast Swing
East Coast Swing

No Dance is Immune

by Robert Abrams
December 1, 2002

Editorial: No Dance is Immune

December 1, 2002

There is a trend in the terror attacks. The terrorists have been using dance as a vehicle to express their hatreds. The attack of 9/11 destroyed a dance spot popular for Swing. The attack in Indonesia destroyed a night club at which people were dancing (probably freestyle). The attack in Kenya destroyed a hotel in which a troupe was performing African dance, killing several dancers, audience members and others.

I am sure that they are not targeting dance, per se. No one has ever accused dance of global hegemony the way that some people accuse Wall Street and the makers of fast food burgers. But the effect is the same.

We are all in this together. The rhythm which the terrorists seek to deny is embedded in the natural world. Dancers simply amplify this rhythm and make it visible. Whether the dance is as new as Swing or as traditional as African dance, expressing the rhythm is liberating. We may not all agree on the proper use of the body and what that means for the conduct of the rest of our lives, but at least we can communicate these differences with each other peacefully. If floorcraft is the art of expressing oneself on the dancefloor without hitting other dancers, then this communication is a kind of meta-floorcraft: a discussion of the art of living with each other on the dance floor which is itself an act of floorcraft in which we express ourselves without hitting each other. Difficult to do, to be sure, but we are dancers and we aspire to advanced patterns.


Robert Abrams
Editor, ExploreDance.com

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