Focusing specifically on dance, this study explores the relationship between the arts and sustainable development. Very little academic work has been conducted about artists’ role in sustainability, a field that is characterized by intersectionality and cross-disciplinary work. This paper seeks to begin to fill that research gap. It determines two ways that dance artists can interact with sustainability: the operations approach and the artistic approach. Highlighting four organizations — Arts Council England, Kidd Pivot, Eiko & Koma, and Vertigo Dance Company — that have made strides in these two approaches, the study concludes that dance could be a tool for sustainability advocates to better communicate material to non-scientific audiences. Introducing environmental material through dance or other artistic mediums is a way of reframing conversations so that they appeal to broader audiences and target different types of solutions. A true shift toward a sustainably minded society will come from many sources, including a shift in cultural values about consumption and humankind’s relationship to the natural world. Art is a driver and creator of culture. If combined effectively, the arts and sustainable development could help to shift our society in a sustainable direction.
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