Being a Texan in Europe, I have observed some things. In Texas, you see, we have wide open spaces, and you get used to thinking big. If you can dream it, you can make it happen. I grew up with this sense of opportunity surrounding me, and I think I carried some of this over with me when I crossed the ocean.
Now that I’ve hung my hat in Europe for a bit, I think I’ve got an idea on how Europeans see opportunities. Well, of course not each and every one of them… that would 450 million people that I haven’t met yet. But enough to make generalizations. For example, share an idea with a German, and they’ll tell you the correct way to do it. Tell the same idea to a Pole, however, and they’ll tell you why it won’t work.
Whenever I share this observation with a Polish person, they always explain to me why this is so. They tell me that it’s because of historical circumstances. That this skepticism has its roots in the story of the Polish nation, and the centuries when it was ruled by some foreign power. This skepticism was a useful way of protecting yourself from making dangerous mistakes in the rough neighborhood that is the North European Plain.
Now look, I get this. I see where they’re coming from. In fact, it is one of the reason’s I love living in Poland so much. The people in my life are grounded in reality, with clear eyes and full hearts.
This all being said, the Poland of today is in control of it’s own destiny like it hasn’t been in a long time. The young people I’ve met are hungry to get out and make their marks on the world. If there has ever been a time in Poland’s history where things work, now would be the time. I feel blessed that they’re letting this Texan tag along for the ride.
So what do I see when I look at the opportunities at my studio? I see a studio where people who want to create interesting things in the dance world can find a home. A place where if you have an idea, you will find support from a community of dancers, teachers, organizers, and like minded entrepreneurs. I know that I am not the expert in everything. I know that I cannot offer the solution to every problem. But I also know for sure that I can create an environment that is open, fair, and honest.
In practice, this means that the studio will operate closer to a cooperative venture, rather than a top-down, traditional model. Of course, I’ll take ultimate responsibility for keeping the lights on and maintaining order, but if your idea supports the studio’s vision, you’ll find much freedom for pursuing it.
We might fail. We might succeed. But I firmly believe that this studio is an experiment worth doing. My personal judgement for success will be measured in how many dancers pass through the studio on their way to great things in their lives. I want to hear them tell other people that, “Yes, Kraków dance works!”
With much cheer,