|Author||Tap dance at the Arts Games in 2018|
The House Of Tap Project
So apparently tap dance will be represented by the IDO at the Arts Games 2018 in Montreal, the equivalent of the Olympic Games for arts (?!) organized by the IOC...
The whole concept of competing within the arts seems odd to me.
From my perspective, art should be made for art's sake, and to express something. Not for a certain result to come out. The widely known phrase "Dance to express, not to impress" comes to mind. And if we think about it, we don't even know what will come out when we make art - especially when we improvise. Of course we make some conscious decisions such as tempo, feel of the music, messages we want to convey, etc. But it's the exploration of the unknown that makes making art so much fun. Exploring yourself, and new depths of the human existence and beyond.
So why and how should somebody judge that? When artists make something, they express a part of themselves. Nobody can say that one expression is better or worse than the other one. It is just different, and completely subjective.
There's definitely a distinction between technical ability and expression. Of course you could "judge" technical ability in regards to speed, clarity, stamina, or whatever. But that completely misses the point of art. A shuffle is not a shuffle without an intention behind it. Art is unavoidably connected to human emotions, because that's what causes us to create art. We utilize tools such as tap shoes, musical instruments, or pencils to express things inside of us that we need to get out. If we approach art only from a technical standpoint, I don't think it deserves to be called art anymore. It becomes a sport. And to me, that is insulting the art form, and not recognizing its context.
Art always consists of two elements: technique and expression. And one can't exist without the other. When we don't know how, we can't express ourselves. When we have the technique, but nothing to say with it, it doesn't make sense either. You have to know how to use the tools (=technique) in order to create what you want to express. And this point gets ignored completely at events such as the Arts Games. In my opinion it doesn't benefit an art form to put it into a frame of unnatural competition. Instead of showing off bare technique that doesn't serve any deeper purpose, we should rather direct our focus towards saying something essential, and exploring the boundless possibilities we can find within ourselves, because art that is allowed to flow freely can have a huge impact on the world.