• Finding Diversity In The Art Of Performance
  • Charla Jones
Finding Diversity In The Art Of Performance
chandelier dancer street art

The magnificence of the human body took center stage this week, and the striking diversity of Carnaval and the Winter Olympics got me thinking...

As the hip-swaying beats and dazzling colors of Carnaval dominated Brazil, and the world’s most nimble compete at the Winter Olympics, we are again left breathless, utterly inspired and jazzed by the sensuality, the rhythm, and remarkable diversity that celebrations like Carnaval embody.

We pause with wonder at the exquisite pageantry — and undulating power — of their welcoming and inclusive cultures, where beauty is not judged by body shape or skin tone alone, but by the sheer spirit of performance.

Many of us hear the clamoring call for diversity and inclusion in our every day lives — and here’s how we can not only aspire to, but reach, those lofty heights

Diversity conversations percolate all around us: Where we work, where we shop, in what we read and what we watch. It’s as if we’re all racing to catch up to what we should have known all along.

Yet when our collective and well-intentioned drive toward diversity and inclusion becomes too synonymous with political correctness, we risk it becoming rote, open to critique from those less enlightened, and missing the mark on the great change we’re all looking to become.

Just as healthy skin can't be found in a jar (hint: you’ll find it in the transformative and culturally rooted skin care rituals we perform daily), diversity is not just another box to check.

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No, diversity requires us to look inward, so that we may see who we are more clearly. It’s about owning and embracing our ugliness as much as our beauty — and transforming the way we choose to see ourselves in a world where the colors and stories differ from our own.

And, it demands we create space to nourish our imaginations as much as our skin.

“Racism exists, in part, due to a lack of imagination. However, imagination requires empathy. That is a muscle which needs practice in American culture.”

This quote from blogger and activist Kerra Bolton paints a picture of diversity as a physical act — training our muscles to gain performance skills.

Similar to our daily skin care practice, a mindful practice of diversity-thinking takes the focus off who we are and emphasizes thinking more about who we are not.

So, as we pause to care for our own skin, consider this: What does it mean “2Be” in another’s skin? And who are “Eu” not? That's skin “care” we can all get behind.

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  • Charla Jones

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