Heads up. I'm about to ask your support for a project.
“Name Your Dream Assignment” is an intriguing photo contest sponsored by Microsoft and Lenovo. The winner gets $50,000 to pursue their project. In a “Dancing With the Stars” fashion, audience votes count for a lot. In fact, the 20 top vote getters are the semi-finalists that the judges then pick from.
From the vote counts on the top projects so far, it doesn't look like a lot of people even know about this contest. The window to enter and capture votes is half over. You could still organize and enter this thing, and you'd have half a chance to get in the top tier. If you enter, I'll publicize your project here. You vote for mine, I'll vote for yours.
I'm working on my entry today. Tomorrow I'm going to ask for your vote. Right now, I'm asking for your help to write it.
Here's what I've written so far. Comment and improve it for me.
Summary statement (240 character limit):
Traditional dance and its modern variants in communities throughout North America. Cape Breton to LA, Portland to Lafayette, this will be a trip through a dance party that connects with music and dance traditions that are centuries old.
Dance is the quickest route to joy, and is the glue that holds a community together. In New Hampshire contra dancing is a continuous 200 year old tradition. Southern Appalachian Scots-Irish modified the old quadrilles into southern square dances, which have lately become trendy raucous affairs in the Pacific Northwest. In Boston and Chicago pubs you can find Irish set dancing. They two-step and waltz in Cajun country. Swedish dance night is big in northeast Iowa. Sephardic Jews dance for hours at weddings to modern Ladino music, with a curtain dividing the sexes. Duranguense is the latest incarnation of a traditional form reborn as a hot dance craze in the Mexican-American community.
This would be a cross country journey into joy and celebration, as found in dance. I have been a long time documentarian of the contra dance scene, both in still and video, and this project expands on that work. I want to seek the common elements of social and community dance across cultures. I will photograph dances and dance venues in communities across North America, and interview the musicians, organizers and dancers so they can share the meaning that dance and music bring to all our lives.