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The Pandisco Manifesto – social disDANCE

Mar 13, 2020. Updated March 17, 2020

“Just note that it is evolving. Speed is key, so a good plan now is better than a perfect one later.”

For the past 6 days, citizens, organizations, and all three levels of government, have been implementing rolling closures and cancellations with a view to slowing transmission of COVID 19. In a few short days, our movements in the world, our ways of working, traveling, caring for our children and elders, maintaining social boundaries, delineating who is allowed close, procuring basic necessities, cleaning our homes and bodies, and interacting with others in our communities, have all shifted beyond recognition. We are unsure if we, or those we love, will remain healthy. We are concerned for those fallen ill. The sense of precarity is palpable and deeply felt.

At the same time, this moment is already proving to be a crucible for innovation. As social disDANCE evolved over the last few days, it started to become clear our idea was no lone drop, but rather, part of the first countertides of creative adaptation and self-organization in our community and beyond. The waves were on the horizon – more and more examples of guerilla, ad hoc, often ingenious responses meant to solve for real problems, and keep us well and connected. Many of us were quickly prototyping the new social practices and offerings that might provide some physical, emotional, psychological support, sustenance and release to survive and thrive through the weeks and months ahead.

At time of this revision, the concept of social disDANCE has been evolving quickly over the course of 5 days. It was first conceived of in the growing awareness many social practices for individual and collective thriving, connection and expression could not be undertaken in their usual forms at this time… out of an awareness they were likely to be significantly disrupted for some time.

As we wrote the first version of this document, “Flatten the Curve” had just come online. The phrase “social distance” had just entered common parlance and has only begun to enter common practice. The rolling closures and cancellations kept coming as our idea took shape alongside. Coming together to sing, dance, worship, enjoy live performance, share food, teach, learn, play, exercise very quickly fell outside of safe-distance guidelines, excepting with the one, two or few people we share home with. Many people didn’t have such an inner circle at all. For workers in the performing arts, or in services that require human contact, there was growing awareness that new solutions and models to create income support were needed as speedily as we could think them up.

social disDANCE was conceived in this context. As a first-response contribution. As a kind of heartful community medicine. And it has evolved to include the following defining elements.

social disDANCE is, first and foremost, an invitation to dance together, apart.

social disDANCE is an offering and a thoughtful, embodied, social experiment. It is a deeply-responsive, evolving, living collaborative concept and community practice. It is also a defined model in one important respect: our dance invitations are and will always be designed in line with evolving Flatten the Curve, directives vis a vis the evolving COVID 19 pandemic, self-containment and what constitutes safe distance.

social disDANCE is a fledgling collective of community organizers and creative producers, people who believe in the power of music, movement, and technology to bring us together, cultivate human connection, lessen anxiety and nurture a sense of individual and collective wellbeing.  We are committed to social cohesion. We are also committed to breaking the chain of infection.

social disDANCE is a supported practice. For those who wish to use and organize around them, DJ-curated scheduled live streams will allow participants to know they are moving together with others, wherever they are across circumstances and geographies. We believe the simultaneity and coherence of our dance experiences can amplify our individual and collective wellbeing as we participate together.

social disDANCE is also an invitation to a DIY safe-distance dance at home alone, with those they live with, or outdoors. People anywhere, anytime, can dance “together, apart”, to music of their choosing, contributing to the social disDANCE movement in their own way.

socialdisDANCE is a social movement. We invite people: to dance with those they live or work with in spaces they continue to share, at safe distance. To dance 6 ft or more away from each other in duos, or small disperse groups in public outdoor spaces. To dance in their back yards with their families. Alongside other neighbours in their backyards. To dance on balconies in view of neighbours on their balconies. To use social channels to coordinate their communities to dance together to the livestream, and design to see each other – at a distance in outdoor space; in virtual space using online meeting platforms, phones, social channels. To use social media and communications platforms to share social disDANCE experiences. Our hope is that social disDANCE as a practice spreads exponentially through social disDANCERS to all who can benefit from it at this time.

social disDANCE is a human movement. We social disDANCE at all ages, and across identities, geographies, circumstances.  

social disDANCE represents a choice to find and amplify what still CAN be done in a time of much constraint. To participate is a creative act, and an act of resistance. Resistance to being demoralized by current events and the falling away, for a time, of structures we’ve relied on. We don’t know what’s ahead exactly. But we’ll be dancing while we solve for it. Join us.

social disDANCE

Toronto, ON

March 17, 2020