Socially Conscious Dancing

Professional modern and contemporary dancer, Karlijn (22), uses her creative prowess to make the world a better place. In this very first edition of Icons of Today, Karlijn explains how she uses dance as a platform to bring up various social issues but also to work through some personal issues. According to the gospel of Karlijn, everybody should have a place or activity to express their creativity.

“For me, dancing is such a lovely way of expressing myself. I use it to visualise what’s going on in the world and in my mind. But I also just enjoy dancing together with other people. I think everyone becomes a happier person when they’re dancing.”

The Next Generation’s social issues

With dance as her platform of choice, Karlijn has already raised several social issues that are important to her and the rest of the New Generation, like racism, equality and the pressure that comes with finding their way in today’s society. During her studies, for instance, she choreographed a dance that represented the social pressure she and her peers are dealing with: “With this dance, I wanted to express that there should be room for softness and how we can deal with it together,” she states.

Adopting a new narrative

In addition to social issues, Karlijn also uses dance to deal with topics closer to her heart, like adoption. Being adopted herself, she recognised the lack of knowledge on this subject within society. By creating her own dance, she created a narrative that reflected her own experience and incorporated her own story.

“I believe that everyone is creative in their own way, But not everyone has the platform to express it.”

Creativity for all

Karlijn believes that everyone in the world is creative in their own way. That it can be expressed in different ways and highlight different aspects of life. That’s why she’s super excited to notice a societal shift towards appreciating creativity and culture more, something that’s especially true for her generation. When asked to describe her generation in a single word, she laughed and said: “Busy.” According to Karlijn, she and her friends are always on the go, discovering new things, having new experiences and setting up new movements.

"I love to see how my generation expresses its creativity and carries out its values. Still, I can’t help but feel bad for the people who haven’t yet found their platform or their voice. The ones that haven’t discovered yet that they can colour outside the lines and thus stay inside the lines that society provided for them.”

If it were up to Karlijn, everyone would have a platform for expressing their creativity, as she does with her dance. So that everyone can contribute to a better world in their own, unique way.