Happy Birthday, Art Intercepts! You’re a beautiful disaster, and I just can’t quit you.

It was maybe 2011 when I reconsidered the name Art Intercepts. My thought process went something like:

There’s no “dance” in the name. I obviously have nothing to do with the Cartesian Coordinate System. Everyone gets it wrong and types Arts Intercept instead of Art Intercepts, or uses AI, which makes me think of artificial intelligence, or some guy named Al. What does Art Intercepts even mean?!? Geez.

But when you buy a domain name, and use it as your twitter handle, and you’re, like, a couple years into the thing and have already changed your hosting and blog platform (twice), it feels like too much work to think of a new name. So I stuck with it, and stuck readers with all the iterations of what this blog wanted to be.

Am I a blog? A forum for dance criticism? A production company? A research lab? A dance version of Web-MD?

I don’t actually know. I don’t think I’ve ever really known, but as I raise a glass to seven years of not knowing what this is but doing it anyway, somehow, I became really proud of it. Earlier this year when I transitioned to writing at the Tribune, I was really surprised by the number of people who said to me: “But, what about your blog?”

So, what about it?!?

For starters, we’re beginning to highlight events in neighboring Midwestern cities, and I’m not ruling out the possibility of one day expanding nationally or globally – because the Internet is awesome. And I get to say “we” now, instead of “I”, with a growing team of writers contributing to the site to cover all the things I can’t. I’m excited about loosening my grip to let the blog breathe and make room for additional voices – more “intercepts,” if you will. Doing this widens the reach to give readers insight about dance beyond the borders of where I live and what I value about dance, and that feels important.

Seven years after starting this blog, I’m still not sure what it is or wants to be, but I’m certain that it should. Be, that is. I remain committed to keeping this little corner of the Internet open for writing and thinking about dance, in whatever form that takes, because…

Dancing and writing aren’t frivolous acts. They help us process the world around us, and help humans relate to other humans to whom they might not ordinarily relate. Dance writing isn’t a dying form, but it’s changing (or at least it needs to). And while dance doesn’t depend on writers for its survival, it could easily become stagnant without it.

So let’s continue the conversation, or as Rachel Maddow would say, “Watch this space.”

Author: Lauren Warnecke

Lauren Warnecke is a freelance dance critic, contributing to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine. She is senior editor of See Chicago Dance. Lauren covers dance across the Midwest and writes regularly for Dance Magazine and Pointe with additional bylines in Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Teacher. Forthcoming publications include essays on ballet training in Chicago (University of Illinois Press) and Shirley Mordine (University of Akron Press). In 2020, Lauren published an opinion piece on the impact of COVID-19 on the arts in the South African journal Agenda. Lauren holds degrees in dance and kinesiology and has presented research on dance training practices at the National Dance Education Organization and the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. She has co-facilitated critical dance writing intensives in Chicago and Durban, South Africa, and participated in writing residencies at the National Center for Choreography, Bates Dance Festival and JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience. Lauren teaches dance history and kinesiology for dancers, with part-time appointments at Loyola University Chicago and Illinois Wesleyan University.