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Sunday, April 10, 2011

The End of Art

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the role art plays in our lives.
For most of my life, I viewed my art--dance--as an end in itself. Like many dancers, I would sacrifice anything for the sake of my art. It was the nexus around which everything else in my life revolved. To me, it was a god.
In NYC, my tendency toward art-worship was encouraged by the city's professional dance scene. But something about the world I loved started rubbing me the wrong way. I started to see what idolatry of art was doing to artists. It became increasingly more painful to see so many gifted, driven artists who derived their self-worth only from their ability to create the art that they loved. If they couldn't serve their "god" the way the art said they should, they felt worthless. A few (too many) used the art as what I see as a kind of self-worship. They loved themselves in the art and with the right job, the right people, the right status, they felt like failures. Often these people (myself included) completely run themselves into the ground or worse--run others into the ground in the competitive show business marketplace.
Against all odds, my time in NYC brought me closer to the one true God. Even immersed in a dance world that encouraged the idolatry of the arts, God brought me back to Him. He became the center of my life. Well, most of it. During my week at Ad Deum Dance's spring intensive last month, I realized that I'd given every part of my life to the Lord, except one--dance. Since that week, I've started seeing dance and writing as means of communication with God, glorifying Him, showing Him to others. For so long my dancing was focused on my goals for my life. It was all about me. Now I'm learning to give it back to Him, to see art as a tool, not as a god.
I really admire artists of all faiths and personal convictions who use their art for a purpose greater than themselves. Be one of them. Make a difference.

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