With fireworks booming above the Brooklyn Bridge less than a quarter of a mile away, echoing outside the Marriott Hotel’s doors, the Manhattan Dance Championships celebrated this past Fourth of July with an evening of American Smooth and Rising Star Rhythm.
Meanwhile, the Independence Day Ball Dance Camp recruited some of the best coaches in the world to train a plethora of eager students, from bronze to champ, sporting a wide range of workshops and styles for dancers of all styles.
To be sure, dance was not absent during this past Fourth of July weekend.
A little over a month ago, the top dancers in the United States went head-to-head with competitors from across the world at Blackpool Dance Festival. The styles of Professional American Smooth and Professional American Rhythm were only recently introduced at the festival, with no options for amateurs, and to the chagrin of Rhythm dancers everywhere, the music used for mambo for questionable.
Originally, this issue was meant to focus on the oft-forgotten American styles, especially on the international stage. Giving these styles their own moment in the spotlight is something that we value, especially for our collegiate readers.
However, the word “American” carries much more weight in our society today than simply a style of dance.
Perhaps it would be much simpler if dance wasn’t political. Perhaps it would be simpler if this magazine published articles solely about ballroom dancing in all of its historically standardized glory.
But this magazine is for collegiate students. It’s for collegiate students who are much more interested in reconciling the America that we live in with the America that is presented through the dances that we dance, especially in American styles. Our love of dance is always at conflict with the cultural heritage, and appropriation, of our favorite styles.
We intend to give those styles the celebration that they deserve, but context is important. Context is always important.
— Carly Mattox, Editor-in-Chief