This article was published on February 24, 2015 on Dance Wire’s “Featured Artists and Organizations”. The full article can be found here.
Ask Robert Guitron, Director of Polaris Dance Theatre, what is dance and who should dance and he’ll let out a big sigh indicating the weight and depth of the response, then hardly missing a beat, out comes his answer: “Dance is a rudimentary necessity of humanity. It transcends language, culture, demographics, and it’s the oldest form of expression and communication.” And, he emphasizes, “Everyone should dance, everyone should express themselves.” Robert laments that we’ve put stigmas and judgements on ourselves and others about who is and what is a dancer. But to be a professional artist is completely different than enjoying the art form itself. Like cooking, not everyone is a chef; but learning how to cook and learning what to do with food is part of sustaining yourself and your family and helping you succeed. Robert loves to see people on the street rocking out to their headphones or in the car jamming out. “If we could find more ways of just doing that, society would be healthier.” Movement for movements sake.
These ideals permeate everything Polaris is and does. Polaris consists of a professional performing company, a pre-professional training company and a school. One of their core values is that they don’t shut anyone out. They’ve often taken in people who other studios have turned away. Robert gives the example of a legally blind girl who came to the studio after being turned away from studios that saw her as a liability. Polaris also has a quad amputee in their main company who dances gorgeously, but likely wouldn’t have been given a chance other places. But again, Robert stressed that dance isn’t an elitist activity; it’s fundamental to all humans.
Polaris is dedicated to not only allowing everyone to have the opportunity to explore movement, but also to supporting all styles of movement. Collaboration is very important, which is why each year Polaris hosts Groovin Greenhouse, the dance portion of the annual Fertile Ground Festival that showcases new works by both emerging and established artists. They also created the Galaxy Festival, a free public event set in Director’s Park that celebrates all different styles of movement.
“Art is problem solving,” Robert says. “It’s not about who’s right or who’s wrong. It’s about looking at someone else’s voice.” At Polaris, all voices are heard.