Care. Liberation. Now. Changing Shape , Shaping Change.
N APRIL 2021, right after we’d both been vaccinated, I began to meet weekly with a dancer friend and collaborator. We met, keeping our masks on, in my living room, on my building roof, in the park. It was the first time either of us was making dance with another human in over a year and it was thrilling to simply move our bodies, in the same space and at the same time. Actually, forget about moving—it was profound simply to touch; I could count on one hand the number of people I had touched for a whole year.
by BELINDA JU
We were both drawn to exploring the concept of care. Yes, that ol’ thing. Take care , we sign our emails. We care about you , companies tell me in their ads. Self-care , that luxury we can’t afford. But also no, not that ol’ thing. We were interested in real care: care that is powerful and radical, care that can uproot oppression and topple regimes. In the pandemic, betrayed by those at the top, we did what we always did: we showed up for each other. Amidst catastrophic suf- fering flowered a beauty and depth of our care, community, and sol- darity for each other. And yet, in the spring, as vaccines were open- ing us back up, all that started to crumble with the return of busy and FOMO and neverenoughness . Because that’s what normal translates to in our hyperindividuated, neoliberal society. We wanted to understand care : how could we harness the deep prac- tice we’d exercised at such great cost for a more caring future for the long run, not just in times of crisis. Real care — not marketing slogans and prosaic signoffs. We structured our working sessions as a book club, grounding each session with a chapter from The Care Manifesto by The Care Collec- tive. We invented exercises for ourselves, inspired by what we were reading: what might an infrastructure of care look like? How might we explore neither dependence nor independence but interdepen- dence ? Skipping any easy manifestations of care as either physical ( caring for ) or emotional labor (caring about), how might we embody the notion of feminist Joan Tronto’s caring with, 1 where the care rela- tionship is consistent with democratic commitments to justice, equal- ity, and freedom?
WINTER 2022 in dance 9
in dance WINTER 2022
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