The American Dream Part III: Empathy

Empathy and compassion were dominant themes in our conversation today with Pastor Willingham.  They have also factored heavily into my objectives for this project.  All of the people we met with this week spoke of the importance of empowerment in individuals; change starts with a single person, one idea or action.   And this must come from looking beyond the self; recognizing other human lives as complicated and important; placing value on a human life over “right and wrong,” or a simplified definition of humanity.  Human lives are not currency.  Every person has a story as valid and meaningful as that of anyone else.

The conversations we’ve had this week are essential in my process as a choreographer.  As Brian Willingham said today, “Everybody’s behavior has power.”  For me as an artist, the creation and sharing of my work is critical in how I express that power.  This project seeks to establish a space in which the viewer is moved by the material to question what they know (or think they know), to find deeper meaning and understanding through empathy, to let compassion fuel a desire to learn more, and refocus one’s attention as they relate to their world.  My understanding of Flint makes me believe it offers a wealth of information that can drive this exchange, and I cannot wait to dive into the creative phase of this process to see what we come up with.