Fuse Dance Company – On Creating Community

In August 2012 I met with a friend and spent an hour talking about how to improve our dancing and create a community. Out of that conversation we have built a dance company. I wrote about my dance company before and excitedly showed off our first performance. The process of training 2-8 hours every week for a year has me thinking about community.

First, though, our recent performance:

I think the thing that made Fuse a success early on was my co-founder and my own synergy. During our first interaction I was struck by the similarities of philosophy that we shared. We discussed the details of what we might like in the dance company – him with an emphasis on performance and me on technique – but also looked at the social and community components that would shape the group as a whole. Though he might phrase it differently, he shared my desire for practical philosophy: exploration of difficult issues, raising counterintuitive or socially inappropriate viewpoints for the purpose of increasing emotional flexibility, and above all a desire for continued improvement. I came away from that first conversation craving more: more dancing, more peers, more community. An increased desire to continue my own training.

Fuse has certainly done that. We went from two 20-something guys looking to build something new, to four dancers who lived like family in the final weeks of our first series of performances. We then grew to nine people, all with full lives but willing to dedicate hours a week to a common goal which came to fruition in July 2013 with a series of performances around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lessons learned:

Have a clear vision – this vision doesn’t have to be something static or stayed. The vision can change over time and develop as you do. But having the clarity to see the combination of performance and technical training, with an emphasis on community, that was formed in that first conversation made all of the difference and has kept Fuse on track during difficult days.

Authenticity – anyone who knows me knows that this is one of my core tenets. I have lost friends for sharing what I actually believe. However, authenticity, delivered with kindness, can result in much closer bonds and much less drama than can be accomplished without.

Common cause –  it doesn’t matter that we set out to form a dance company. Having a common cause to rally around makes all the difference. It doesn’t matter on a Friday night if I am feeling antisocial. I know where I’m to go and what I’m going to do for that hour from 7 to 8 PM. Create a clear sense of purpose and act from there.

Great people – the single most important thing that I have learned from Fuse is the  value of surrounding myself by great people. Our community is fluid and continues to change but choosing the best has resulted in a group of high performers who work even better together.

It is my honor to train and perform with the Fuse Dance Company. I don’t know where we will be another year from now (or even what I want). But these people are like family, these performances that we’ve done together will always be something that I look on with excitement. What I have learned in studying and performing with these dancers will shape my projects and community in the future.

If you are interested in following Fuse, you can do so here and here.