The people

So I went to see Alvin Ailey (actually I’m still here, I’m writing at the intervals) and at the end of the first piece they used this Ailey quotation:
“The dance came from the people and it should always be delivered back to the people”.
Now, I like the idea behind it, but in this era of post postmodernism and disenchantment, maybe we should reflex a bit more on this “super statements”. Not to say that I don’t agree with or like the quote, but…
To start with… Who is the people?
Is the people that the dance came from the same that we need to give dance back to? Well, quite clearly it is not, as that wouldn’t make any sense.
So, let’s guess this is “people” in a general sense. Dance came from human beings and needs to be given back to them? Hardly surprising!
Is it then that we’re talking about “the people” as the regular, average person, the “masses”? If it is so, the dance that came from the masses (that still comes) and the dance that dance artists give back have little to do with each other at this point (and no, it isn’t even an expression through movement, as there are dance pieces that are movement for the sake of it, without expression behind).
At this point the statement doesn’t have much meaning left as a super quote…
It does however remind us of how often we dance people feel that we’re elevated over all the rest… It’d be good for all of us (and some more than others), that dance is made for the audience, and if you don’t like this, well, then maybe you’re in the wrong business!