It’s interesting to take a moment to consider what we mean by expert and what we mean by artist. Are they the same thing? If you work in dance for young people, or If you teach CPD and can break down practice to provide structure and clarity are you an expert educationalist? If you work in community dance are you an expert community specialist; or in dance for health are you an expert health provider? What is it that places you in the position of expert? And when you get there, are you still an artist?

Perhaps one could consider an expert someone with distinctive profile and position, having made an influence for the better in their field and therefore gaining accolade and status for their contribution. Someone that imparts their knowledge and skills to others for the forward movement of their area of interest and brings clarity and structure with new ideas to keep the practice moving forward.

But what does it meant to be an expert in an art form? 

I would argue that no expert in art is not also an artist in their own right.

One might contradict this by suggesting that in fact an artist could transform into an expert through academic study, and lose the title of artist. However in my current field of dance in the community, and dance in health I believe that we have very little to distinguish us as expert practitioners if we do not have our artistry. Dance in health is only distinguishable as dance if it is an artistic practice. Physiotherapy, fitness classes or zumba can fall under the same bracket as dance in health unless dance stands up against this and recognises that artistry comes first and that health is in fact an intrinsic positive benefit that comes from dance, not a leading focal point.

I am an artist. I am a skilled practitioner who recognises the intrinsic benefits of dance practice for community based dancers. I am an empathic person who can analyse and understand in the moment how to engage dancers from multifaceted backgrounds in dance practice. I am an academic that can draw structure, frameworks and clarity from this practice and share this knowledge with others. And I am still an artist.

I would also suggest that there is no such thing as expert, as we are always growing, learning, experiencing. But that’s a discussion for another time!