Zero to 45 Degrees

A Vision for Reconnection and Rediscovery in Dance
By Elana Denise Anderson, Ph. D.


In today’s fast-paced world of instant gratification, increased technology and celebrity-driven mainstream media, it is hard to determine what dance is or even means to anyone anymore. Dance is currently characterized by athleticism, quirky choreographic forays, and reality television shows that undermine artistic integrity, replacing it with unnecessary drama and “instant fame”. Seemingly gone are the days when a dance artist worked diligently to build and keep an audience based upon collaboration, commitment, and perseverance. And so in the face of adversities with as many faces as the costumes in the dressing room, Joy of Motion Dance Center and Deeply Rooted Productions set out to connect the veterans with the rising stars.

What happens when segments of dance artists, who in the eyes of the mainstream may have very little to offer one another, come together to communicate and share a passion that none but those who know it intimately can truly understand? The lifeblood of any art form lies in its ability to communicate ideas, and the idea that age begets ignorance or irrelevance or that a dance artist becomes obsolete with age is rendered powerless by the 45 Degrees Project.

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Bridging generations of dance artists through shared classes, choreography and conversation makes a lot of sense, especially when a different idea can find presentation and renewed life. That human beings need each other, regardless of age, pressure or conditioning, is an idea that will not go away. The magic of connection and of love and of art came together beautifully because we were all fully engaged and committed to the weeklong process of working together. We took class together, we laughed together; we made mistakes and friends-eleven of us under the age of forty, seven of us over. We were sweating and we were breathing and we were dancing-together! We told the audience all about it, and they listened with awe and with bated breath and with renewed hope for a different kind of dance.

I am a dance artist (among many other things). At fifty, I do not have to lift my leg above 45 degrees anymore, but I most certainly will not be relegated to obscurity…

Thank you to Joy of Motion Dance Center and to Deeply Rooted Productions for this…a return to a pathway for dance once forgotten, remembered anew.