Election Day 2020: ‘De-polarize for democracy,’ says dancer Dana Caspersen

Dance · Ideas & Opinion

It seems pretty obvious. We need to tamp down the political polarization in this country. But how do we do that? “They” won’t listen. Let’s put our bodies into it. Assuring us that “We Are Not Doomed,” conflict specialist Dana Caspersen, also a former dancer, has created a special “score,” or physical/mindful exercise, in honor of our national election today, November 3 2020. Dana calls her exercise, which you can complete on your own, an “act of depolarization for whatever comes next.”

De-polarize, America!

Dana, who danced with Frankfurt Ballet and whom I met as a Fellow at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU, constructed this new action score as one of 10 scores commissioned for the US election day by 1,000 Scores. Pieces for Here, Now & Later. The latter is an online performance space that presents commissioned instructional ‘scores’ from artists. Dana’s work is one of 10 scores for election day that were co-commissioned by 1000 Scores, together with Pact Zollverein and Goethe Institut Chicago.

Dancers know how to take instructions. Now everyone else can too!

You only need YOU for this exercise. Start de-polarizing!

Definition of terms:
Polarization: to perceive ourselves as separate and to think and act in ways that fortify or increase that sense of separateness.

What you will need:

  • 2 chairs (or other objects)
  • A strip of paper
  • A sheet of paper
  • A pen or pencil


1. If you a U.S. citizen and have not yet voted, please do that first.
2. Please think of a person or group from whom you feel polarized in a negative way.
This may be a person / group that you know personally, or one that you do not. Keep them in mind for the next section.


To complete this work, please click through to Caspersen’s “We Are Not Doomed” “score” on the 1000 Scores website.

Dana will walk you through a warmup, including deep breathing. What follows from there is an illuminating exercise in which you use your imagination to consider borders; assuage the opposition response to an entity or person you feel polarized from; and bring spacial and physical awareness to the task. This “score” can actually lead you to a place of peace!

We Are Not Doomed | Dana Caspersen for the ‘1,000 Scores’ project

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