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We’ve all seen “Footloose” and probably questioned the legitimacy of the film’s dancing ban. What seems like a totalitarian fantasy is actually based on a true story. Until 1980, dancing was banned in Elmore City, Oklahoma, the setting of the 1984 film. As it turns out, dance bans have been historically common. In his newest production, “Solo Square Dance,” percussive dancer Nic Gareiss explores the censorship of the moving body at the Turner-Dodge House on Monday and Tuesday.
“I think we’re in a time in which bodies are being legislated against,” said Gareiss, commenting on the current political climate. He said that the regulation of the human body isn’t new.
“In 1935, the Irish government banned people from dancing in their homes, and this is just one of many historic dance bans that has occurred,” said Gareiss. “That prohibition of the moving body is powerful, and this is a time when we should look back and explore that and see what it can bring to our current climate."
Gareiss hopes to demonstrate his sentiment that "the body is always political."
"There’s something about the way that we put ourselves into a space that can be overwhelming or possibly threatening to an authoritarian government,” said Gareiss.
He will premier his two-night show in an intimate setting, making sure to highlight dance traditions from Ireland, Canada and Appalachia.
“The show will feel like a house party,” said Gareiss. “It’s designed to replicate the historical format of people coming into a home in Ireland in the early 20th century, and it’ll have that sense of domesticity and informality. It’s designed to make us feel that sense of party.”
Gareiss’ performance will be held in the round in the Turner- Dodge House, “so everybody will effectively have a front-row seat,” he said.
He fears that the U.S. could be headed toward a modern dance ban, and sees obvious threats to self-expression.
“we’re not banned yet, so we’re going to take advantage of it,” he said.
"Solo Square Dance"
Aug. 7 and 8, 2017, Doors Open 6:30 Turner -Dodge House, 100 E. North St., Lansing $10 Suggest Donation ow.ly/eHDz30e4OrI