Author Archive | Wayne Hazzard

Welcome

Tomorrow, I get to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. I will do this with my niece and her three young children, ages seven, five and two. Selfies will be captured, and a bridge-dance will spontaneously happen that both embarrasses the kids and makes them laugh. This bridge-dance—like many dances—has the ability to instigate more dances while recalling silly and grand moments with family. Tomorrow, we walk hand in hand along a bridge that inspires movies, songs, paintings and of course a dance or two.

Our experience of traversing a steel span that is known world-wide, whose color is international orange, bordered by the vast Pacific Ocean—an awe-inspiring vista that includes fog, salty air and seagulls galore—amplifies our shared experience that will be fondly remembered and talked about for years to come.

And tomorrow’s moments will soon be layered upon others that likely lead to a place unforeseen. They will become memories, each timelessly stuffed with flashes of knowing and not knowing—and in memories’ dream-like trances exist the beauty of none of it needing to be right. It occurs to me that the need to be right continues to impact personal and global issues. From mundane concerns about who said what in the midst of an argument to grander platforms where the need to be right has charged conversations on politics, affordable housing, homelessness, abortion, gun violence, climate change, and so much more.

cover of In Dance. three images. one elderly female eskimo dancer in full feather and fur regalia, one female dancer holding another wearing a piñata on her head, the last is a close up photo of an Indian dancer's gesturing hands and face.

 

Life quickly shifts these days from play to protest. How might the continued building of bridges help us deepen connection and understanding? Writing, reading and listening are age old methods to process the myriad machinations found online, in person, in print and on the media.

This expanded and expansive issue of In Dance provides ample opportunity to connect. Highlights include Sima Belmar’s conversation with former New York Times dance critic Claudia Lo Rocco, now the Editor-in-Chief of SFMOMA’s online and live interdisciplinary platform Open Space. Belmar describes how Lo Rocco’s current gig “initiates from this question of intimacy in relation to performance criticism, and it is this always questioning, ever experimental approach that reveals criticism, history, reporting, and documentation as aesthetic practices in their own right.”

In Marie Tollon’s piece, Bay Area-based choreographer Byb Bibene reveals how a visit to a museum in Paris provided the opportunity to connect with carved wooden objects called nkisi nkondi that originated from his native land, the Congo. Erasure of history through colonization turned into “the start of a personal revolution” for Bibene. And in this new work he is asking questions like “What would have happened if people had held on to their beliefs and their healing practices? What if people didn’t embrace Christianity?”

The many images and articles within are shaped by their own sense of time, place and memory, which guide us toward a path. Yet what I often observe is that there’s not a single route to take but medusa-like forks in the road – maybe they are metaphors, or talisman, for potential. The reality of multi-pronged directions quickly becomes folklore and shared history and with the sharing and retelling the observer learns something new and is reminded that there is no wrong path to take: just bridges to find and cross.

Roam these pages to engage with artists, experience new work, while enjoying images and ideas that are reflective of divergent and diverse practices.

Welcome

Cover Photo of MagazineDenial, bullying, harassment, along with fears of violence, racism, and many manners of abuse are realities we live with; for a long, too long, much too long time.

Proximity provides a way to witness. Touch serves as one of the most intimate bonds: there’s the nuzzle of parent and child, hands held in camaraderie and comfort, and welcome embraces from friends that bring focus to the delicious pleasure of being acknowledged. Then there is the touch that is not wanted, that can come unexpectedly.

Are we okay?

The gift of our bodies is that they are ours alone to work with, cherish, question, be curious about. At 60 my body continues to surprise me, both in its resilience and also in its desire. I find the relationship to my body changes daily and through perseverance I am discovering that physical challenges—even past abuse—provide an opportunity to reflect on my evolving body. This has led me to meditate on uncertainty: Where will I be in 10 years? What will my body feel like? How will I continue to navigate uncertainty?   

Am I okay?

I am so proud of the stand that people are taking to say No to the many forms of abuse and mistreatment that can be couched under a variety of platforms. And what feels like the ugliest stance of all is when someone says “that’s just how it is.” Saying No is powerful and yet, sadly, saying No is only a first step to stop injustice and inequity.

Are you okay?

Depending on your experience you might think that what I’m writing about is stated too dramatically. Well, I say …. No, No, No! I have too often been told “it will all be okay” when a hand has hit me, when ugly words have been hurled at me, when I’ve been told I should not exist because of my sexual preference. It is not okay. Abuse is not justifiable.

Finding joy and hope amidst strife is a constant in life, and my work with artists provides a forum for reflection and healing. The act of coming together in the studio and in theatrical spaces is powerful and it’s a privileged experience that I am thankful to have in my life. I will always advocate for more mighty voices telling truths that are reflected in bodies that move and move.

The March issue highlights words, dances and ideas that inform the continued navigation of life and art.

Enjoy the intimacy shared, the care provided, the curiosity revealed and the comfort in being in relationship with dance.

Welcome

Cover of In DanceFrequently entering unknown territory, even dangerous terrain, is a skill artists have cultivated. While working in the unknown can shape an artistic resilience and a tenacity of spirit—indispensable qualities to navigate a career in the arts—this effort requires fierce dedication. I often have the opportunity to articulate to politicians, funders and those that advocate for the arts that dancers and choreographers traverse moments of uncertainty with finesse and are savvy business people. Translation: they know how to stay within a budget, even one that can suddenly shrink due to unforeseen factors like not getting a desired grant.

This makes me think about ways artists navigate well-being and bringing resources to their self-selected dance family: words like security, safety and family have distinctive meaning singularly or combined.

Our relation to safety changes all the time and our bodies are constantly assessing how protected we feel, which so often is informed by others. Other(s) is such a omnipresent word —someone not known to you, someone who is alien. And then there’s the politics of being a foreigner, an immigrant, which is all too often being leveraged as divisive rhetoric and has been aligned with “being illegal.” These thoughts are too often associated with distasteful and disturbing conversations that try to divide us into known and unknown—safe and threatening.

In the context of presenting dance, the objective of providing a safe and comfortable place to observe skillful creations has been the norm. Yet, does the comfort of a theater seat create complacency for an audience? Is it even the role of the artist to provide comfort and care? Does the artist become complicit by presenting work in theatrical spaces that have power and privilege as their historical lineage?

Recently, the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture—a grassroots action network inciting creativity and social imagination to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging—is asking all individuals and organizations to open public events and gatherings with acknowledgment of the traditional native inhabitants of the land. You can learn more about their efforts at usdac.us. At events like the Rotunda Dance Series, Dancers’ Group is starting each performance with this announcement: “We would like to begin by acknowledging that San Francisco City Hall and today’s performance is being held on the traditional lands of the Ohlone People.” More can be found at Honor Native Lands: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgement.

The few times I have made this statement have felt healing, and probably because of where we live, the audience response has been warm.

I think of this statement as a bit of disrupting norms. To take moments to acknowledge that the places where we perform, live, work, have a complex and all too often ugly past, that should not be washed away but acknowledged so as to not forget. Actions of questioning and disrupting, invite an acknowledgement of her/his/they/stories so that past definitions of power, inclusion, safety and family are expanded and help end the erasing of truths.

As you enter into the unknown of 2018, treasure actions that inspire and heal.

Welcome

Dec In Dance 2017 Cover

Look up and what do you see—an image that inspires? What are you thinking now?

Through images and words curiosity arises and inspiration abounds.

Dancers’ Group’s staff has frequent and lengthy conversations about what artists, events, and topics we will feature in In Dance. We grapple with a wonderful problem of having more content—ideas for articles—than we have space for in the publication. If you’re a regular reader you will have discerned a prioritization of writing about San Francisco Bay Area artists and companies. This not only supports Dancers’ Group’s mission to promote and make visible the abundance of dance in our region; it also showcases the exceptional artistry taking place here and adds to an expanded and rich discourse that illuminates dance. And there are at least a gazillion types of dance to cover!

I’ve been reflecting on this year’s articles and my head spins recalling the 63 pieces—available in print and online—that represent an ever widening range of topics that showcase what it means to move and be moved by artists in our community.

A highpoint of curating content for In Dance continues to be the opportunity to engage with writers that are as passionate about dance as the subjects they cover—such as the beloved critic/writer Rita Felciano. Her informed analysis has brought us articles that featured Dance Brigade’s 40th anniversary and the 39th season of the SF Ethnic Dance Festival, as well as reflections on the waves that Judy Smith has made during her tenure as artistic director of AXIS Dance Company. Writer Robert Avila has provided readers distinct and fresh overviews that look to disrupt borders, while choreographer Nancy Karp penned a first person piece as a reflection and response to the refugee crisis, which was the impetus for her work Memory/Place.

In 2017, we ran three distinct articles written by Farah Yasmeen Shaikh about her experiences of performing and teaching in Pakistan. This series provided a forum in which she could discuss how artistic practice is a tool for combating the spread of fear of the “other” — in her case, being a Muslim-American woman.

As a frequent contributor to In Dance, Heather Desaulniers has brought an innate curiosity to pieces that shed light on a diversity of aesthetics and dance traditions. Her smartness ensures readers will connect with artists like Miriam Peretz, the artistic director of Nava Dance Collective—a group of women who perform dance and ritual from Central Asia—and learn about Celia Fushille, the spirited and determined artistic director of Smuin Contemporary American Ballet. Heather’s interview with La Tania, which brought attention to the artist’s illustrious performing career in Flamenco, is one I have revisited.

A regular column now appears each month called In Practice by Sima Belmar, a highly regarded local critic, educator and writer. Her conversations with artists, before during and after making dances, continues to reveal a commitment to discussing the complexities of covering dance—a discourse and dialogue that will continue in 2018.  

Our continued thanks to a roster of regular writers that include Rob Taylor, Patricia Reedy, Kate Mattingly, Claudia Bauer and Ann Murphy. Each has helped us expand our coverage of artists working in traditions and those that take on the mantle of new forms of movement, education and performance. These conversations consistently break down barriers that some see as dividing disciplines, while others inform the freshest viewpoints, which can only continue to inform hearts and minds.

We are already starting to plan our feature articles for 2018 and we hope you will send us your story ideas to consider—or maybe even step forward to add your thoughts to these pages.

Wishing you moments that are filled with wonderfully warm seasonal fun.

Welcome

I’m obsessed with the possibility of creating more-space-for-dance. Other current obsessions include eating tacos, traveling on public, reading about the Dalai Lama, avocadoes, practicing T’ai Chi and anything to do with magic tricks. In my youth I dreamed of performing great feats of magic to amaze and inspire. My dancer life helped me fulfill some of that dream: I like to believe that performing provided moments of magic for the audience and me. Manifested through bodies in motion, responding to lights, and music – even if there was no music – that became mystic moments in space and time.

Time allows ideas to expand, contract, disappear or even reappear. Is movement invention the real-magic? Or like a good slight-of-hand, is it all about guiding the observer to connect to the images? Thankfully there are numerous theatrical devices, or “dance-tricks”, that become the artful moments, each crafted to reveal something unimagined in its original form.   

Creation can also be viewed as the process that produces something tangible where nothing existed before —mysterious to many, with audience often putting forth queries like: How did you do that? Where did you get that idea?

In addition to the artistic process, artists are hyper-aware of challenges in finding enough time and resources to create and that includes having the literal space to do so. Is the reality of making-do its own magic?

Berkeley based Cal Performances recently revealed a season that’s richly packed with dance options. Representing styles and traditions that will appeal to a broad range of audience. Heather Desaulniers’ profile of this venerable presenter reveals that this is an “investment that Cal Performances is making in choreography, movement and physicality.”

Charya Burt’s artistry, through her Cambodian dance company and cultural preservation work, is featured this month in a piece by Rob Taylor. Burt will entice us at a free presentation as part of the Rotunda Dance Series on November 3. Discover how “her high-precision choreography, comprised of subtle movements and nuanced gestures, is as complex and intricate as the ornate hand-made costumes featured in Cambodian dance, which take up to three hours for dancers to be sewed into.”

Delve into additional in-depth articles that speak to the vital work that Luna Dance Institute is taking on to address oppression, while helping students’ “grow in confidence, skill, expression, and self-awareness.”

Welcome

September In Dance cover with WelcomeBe Here Now — Here Now Be — Now Be Here

These three words, placed in simple rotation, could be tips given by a caring teacher in class, or book titles advocating the power of living in the moment. I equally picture these texts associated with the likes of Ram Dass, Jedi Master Yoda, and a Shakespearean character.

Like this re-arranging of words, artists and creative thinkers are rightly re-visiting, re-imagining, and re-engaging with the power of terms, including nonverbal expression. With the first eight months of 2017 skewing assumptions of a sane and just world, we’ve entered a phase in time arranged in ways that are anything but normal.

Reactions and protests to national and international events are also transpiring at twitter-neck-speed. Each informing the future of politics, the environment, and our melting-pot multi-cultural society: an upheaval of past advancements that’s fueled by hatred, ignorance, and exclusion.

Thankfully there’s a renewed vigor to question authority and policy, with urgency framing each moment. Artists are positioned to provide voice to those targeted and attacked— verbally and physically—for their perceived difference.

While not all artmakers will consider their practice as politically based, all art is political. Especially art based in abstraction, which encourages creative thinking, allowing a multiplicity of interpretations. The viewer, or interpreter, is given agency to reflect on impressions and concepts that determine their stake in what is presented. With the moving body placed at ground zero, its own human stake that signifies a continued claim for liberty and justice for all. A provocation for more discourse and a demand to be seen.

A chorus of ideas resides in this September issue. If I were to pick a theme that connected the unique articles and features within, it would be the theme of perseverance. Persevering as a commitment to dance-making while digging deep. Persevere to identify resources (space, dancers, money, audience, and even accolades) that make the moments possible.

Kendra Kimbrough Barnes, the co-founder/director of the Black Choreographers Festival and director of her own company, talks with choreographer Raissa Simpson about Afrofuturism and Simpson’s work presenting artists during the now annual PUSHfest. We learn about Vanessa Camarena-Arredondo’s recent appointment at the Akonadi Foundation to further funding strategies that will support cultural work in Oakland for people of color. In a piece that pays tribute to the legacy of teachers, Eric Kupers asks questions about the move to increase class sizes in the university setting and puts a spotlight on reflections that speak to the power of giving back.

Since the death of founder Michael Smuin (1938-2007) perseverance has been a calling for Celia Fushille, the artistic director of Smuin Contemporary American Ballet, to continue the legacy of her mentor. Heather Desaulniers reveals the numerous paths that await the company, guided by Fushille’s passion.

Michael Nugent, a new writer to In Dance, is in conversation with choreographer Randee Paufve. They each bring their perspectives to XO, a mashup performance piece that is informed by today and tomorrow’s challenges that explores “archetypes and stereotypes as means of reorienting ourselves in these unsettling times.”

Always, my hope is that the words within provide touch-points to be in conversation, while inspiring and motivating each of us to deliver our message.

Dance and see dance with perseverance and delight.

Welcome

July August 2017 CoverSize matters, mostly.

I like my encounters to feel big and bold. In a space where bodies defy expectations in size, ability, race, and gender, while providing intimate physical moments that range from quiet tenderness to explosive fireworks. I also like the experience to last—an encounter might take 30 to 40 minutes. Not to be too detailed, but there may be props involved or theatrical toys incorporated to enhance the experience. All in service to what can be described as the dramatic pay-off, the climax, which concludes the performance.

Did this rudimentary rambling have you imagining a scene of carnal pleasure?

No, silly, it’s my way to describe how much I love to see dance. A chance to imbibe a variety of physical actions of all shapes and sizes. These instances are intimate embraces between performer and audience. And like most first loves—and those that are fondly remembered—they’re all part of experimenting.

I often question, how does physical proximity to a dance impact or alter one’s perception of that dance? Perhaps the closeness of moving bone and muscle forces unforeseen feelings and unimagined interpretations. Yet, how close is too close? Does an audience’s distance from performers more fully realize or lessen sensorial images intended by their creator?

Does it matter?

I’m on a roll with questions. And there are more, like: what draws an audience to attend one event over another? Is it good marketing? Artistry? Affordability? Money certainly is a factor in making a decision on which event, or events, one can afford to attend. Access? Can someone in a wheelchair even enter the performance space?

No answers readily available here—open for discussion.

Happily, this is a time when moving bodies, and the events that showcase their artistry, are valued and seen in ways that past generations could never have imagined. This includes having audience embraced in a bar, museum, park, gallery, on the side of a buildings wall, and of course at theaters (inside and outside). Performers now have the opportunity to dance on Facebook or move in such close proximity that only inches separate the viewer from the performer. Dances are now crafted for one person’s pleasure or for hundreds of thousands, as in the case of online media.

Over the next two months, reflect on these questions, and your own, as you consider which events to attend: at spaces small, alternative and grand.

In this issue you will read about productions taking place at the San Francisco Opera House (SF Ethnic Dance Festival) and performance events that are being built for only 12 people (For You). Learn about outdoor events created in public parks that investigate how disabled and non-disabled performers are seen (Occupy). Then there are the festivals, which are part of an ever-expanding format that speaks to the power of coming together to share multiple viewpoints in one setting (Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival).

So, size, scale, magnitude, and intent does indeed matter because it plays an important role in gaining access to as many options to create and see dance in as many ways as we can imagine.

A final reflection on size: big is sometimes small, and small can lead to something bigger, therefore, size, like beauty, (cliché alert) lies in the eye of the beholder.

Dream Big and Hope Often.

Welcome

Looking Back with Love

Dancers’ Group has been home. For thirty-five years I’ve worked on and off, mostly on, for this art-full organization. Learning on the job has always been a tenant that allowed for, and foretold, exchanges with graciously gifted dance artists, funders and fans. As I sought a career path, it made sense to add arts administration to my dance-desires, because the work—writing a grant for a presentation or learning a part to dance on stage—supported me and many of the artists I wanted to work with, like Aaron Osborne, Emily Keeler, June Watanabe, Ed Mock, Joe Goode and Margaret Jenkins.

In the 1980’s, those first years of imagining the entity that is now Dancers’ Group, the cost of living in San Francisco was much gentler for workers on a budget. Assuredly, this laid the groundwork for arts entities of all kinds to add their vital visions to a growing, and now rich, landscape of generative artistic activity that’s experienced today. I will say, I did love a monthly rent of $150 that was easily paid by teaching dance classes each week and was augmented with a few cater-waiter gigs (to pay for daily dance classes).

A bevy of committed individuals envisioned and helped shape what would become Dancers’ Group, now celebrating three and a half decades of work. Of these teachers, choreographers, community activists and students, three primary founders emerged to create a new entity. The founders were Vernon Fuquay, Aaron Osborne and myself. Both Vernon and Aaron succumbed to the heart-breaking wreckage that the AIDS pandemic played on several generations of gay men, many working in the arts. With lives cut short and visions stalled, there were numerous creations and radical ideas that were lost.

This devastating loss of creative lives, felt in the Bay Area and worldwide, painfully adds to our dance history. A frame of loss that reflects inevitable changes and cycles, deaths and births, each tied to celebration and grieving with kaleidoscopic moments in-between. These instances will continue to inform a boundless and unstoppable love for our art and artists.

Let’s remember those who have come before. Not only my dear Vernon and Aaron. Names of those lost to us from a variety of illnesses, young and old, locally. We haven’t forgotten you, you’re why we are here and do what we do. A recalling of names:

LUCAS HOVING • NINA FICHTER • ED MOCK • KERIAC • REMY CHARLIP • DELLA DAVIDSON • MALONGA CASQUELOURD • SUSAN CASHION • RODNEY PRICE • TRACY RHOADES • BEN COLLINS • JOAH LOWE • CRUZ LUNA • FRANK EVERETT • PHILIP HORVITZ • RUSSELL HARTLEY • MICHAEL SMUIN • CHRISTOPHER BOATWRIGHT • AARON OSBORNE • MICHAEL KOOB • VERNON FUQUAY • JOHN HENRY • TOMM RUUD • HAFEEZAH A. DALJI (A.K.A. BOBBIE D. WATSON) • CHRIS HELLMAN • MICHAEL JONES • RAOUL PAUSE • ELEANOR LAUER • MANFRED SCHAECHTLE • MARY ANN KINKEAD • STEVE MERRITT • MEL WONG • CHITRESH DAS • THEA FAUST ANDERSON • VICTOR ANDERSON

This is an imperfect list of deceased dancers, teachers, friends, colleagues, lovers, and yet it seeks to pay respectful tribute in the way that headstones, and quilts, and other markers of death do—to righteously remember. Victor Anderson, co-founder of the Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, receives a righteous remembering in this issue, lovingly penned by Sima Belmar with community input.

For reasons that are so easy to describe—a love for dance-making—I have always made my way back to an artistic home that proudly provides much to me and many.

My wish for this 60th year since my birth is to find ways to honor dance, to persist in identifying resources for dance-makers while continuing to learn, love, and find daily delight in wondrous movement.

Courage, and Happy Anniversary Dancers’ Group!

— Wayne Hazzard

Welcome

Movement and moving were one of the few constants I had growing up. Throughout childhood I found myself—literally and figuratively—at a new residence and school almost every year. This continuous movement led me to myself.

My sole parent was married and pregnant while still in high school, and then divorced with two kids at the age of 21. Mom was a youngster herself, growing up alongside my sister and me. This odd parallel parenting/growing track shaped her non-parenting style of parenting, as she tried to survive the emotional and financial perils of parenthood. When Mom was offered a new job, it was often in a different part of town or new city. So we moved.

For many children growing up in less than ideal circumstances, adaptation becomes a way of life. In my case, these relocations prompted me to create various escapist techniques. Like pretending I was from another country, even though I had never traveled outside of California. This young kid played at being a “foreigner”, dressed in a suit, and spoke a kind of gibberish to prove his specialness. Clearly I sounded silly, fooling nobody.

Reflecting on this time and the educational settings of the 1960’s and 70’s, I realize that had I been introduced to dance or other creative learning opportunities earlier, I might have understood that a fantasy life wasn’t about excluding myself from others. I was trying to be seen, to feel real, to learn, and the only way I knew how to do that was by making things up. My childhood fantasies always involved transforming into the other —a super-hero, a princess, and, of course, the foreigner speaking non-existent languages. Growing up with little structure and few interests at school, I retreated inside a body that longed to connect.

Moving was also a way to start over, with a new audience waiting. Moving is an apt metaphor for dancers and one that many have explored. Fortunately, notions of both parenting and teaching kids with overactive imaginations have evolved to encompass a variety of methods that support and encourage children who move and think differently, through outlets like dance, fantasy play, or other forms of physical expression.

It’s been proven that individuals must learn to move and, at the same time, move to learn. Doesn’t that sound like rehearsal? A life filled with practice speaks to applying the basics over and over again, a concept that finds root, then growth, in every creative endeavor.

For 46 years, if you wanted to teach dance in a California K-12 school, you needed a physical education credential. And to teach theatre, an English credential. Shamefully, California was one of only two states that did not issue a single-subject teaching credential in dance or theatre.

Luna Dance Institute Director of Community Engagement Nancy Ng writes about the years of dedicated hard work that it took to change those outdated requirements. The Theatre and Dance Act (TADA!), SB 916, that passed this year, addresses the gap in arts education by establishing a single-subject teaching credential for dance and theatre.

I can hear a collective sigh of relief. A special thanks goes out to the many gifted teachers that provide quality and caring instruction to young minds. These educators and their ideals bode well as we move toward a future where everyone will learn to dance and dance is seen as equal to any other basic subject offered in school. Creative potential abounds in every mind and body.

Resilience, steadfastness of spirit, embodied wisdom while moving forward—these are grand wishes for a celebratory time. Enjoy the moves that move you.
—Wayne Hazzard

Welcome

In Dance Nov 2016Everything is political. And personal. This year there has been one especially momentous moment and that is the nomination, by a major political party, of our first female Presidential candidate. As a gay man brought up by a single mom and sister, and identifying as more female than male — I tend to identify as gender variant — I am ready to cast my vote.

Countries around the world have long voted in female leaders, from Presidents to Prime Ministers; there are currently women led governments in Chile, Austria, Liberia, Germany, Bangladesh, South Korea and Norway with a total of 20 female heads-of-state in all. Yet, our country, with its good ‘ole American patriarchy in play — that also dominates the arts — is terrified of giving up power to allow a woman to lead. It’s beyond time for this to happen in the U.S. and to set in motion more change towards equality, ensuring that gender does not define one’s ability to be a successful, caring and powerful leader. A new level of equity is required and the only way this will be accomplished is by electing more diverse representation within our governing bodies of power.

Artists play an important role as instigators for change towards an equitable society and I was reminded of this on a re-reading of a 1992 poem that starts out with the sentence, “I Want a Dyke for President.” Google it and be amazed by the poignancy of the message, which has resurfaced on social media posts, has recently been read at the White House in October, and has even been placed on a billboard in New York City. The piece was written by queer feminist activist Zoe Leonard, who recently stated that, “I still think that speaking up is itself a vital and powerful political act.”

If you are a San Francisco resident there is a very important measure on the November ballot that needs your support. Prop S will restore Hotel Tax funding for the arts and work to end family homelessness in San Francisco, without raising taxes. A “yes” vote will help ensure more funding for cultural equity grants, create a new neighborhood arts grants program, and provide housing and prevention services for homeless and at-risk, low-income families. Additional details on this proposition can be found at bettersf.com.

No matter where you live, it can’t be overstated that casting your vote is speaking up powerfully.

Creating dance that reflects your history is certainly a powerful way to speak up; these stories shared through movement reveal issues of diversity that lead us closer and closer to equity, which is a vital imperative.

Please enjoy the wide range of articles in this month’s issue that provide just a glimpse into the array of artists working hard for change—their way. Dance continues to have the power to impact many in boundless and joyous ways.

I plan to continue to speak up in my own unique way— join me.

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