Director’s Note, Oct 2009

By Wayne Hazzard

October 1, 2009, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

Dance and fashion, what comes to mind when you read those words? For me, specific images that inform our movement-based, clothed libidos. What we put on our bodies is, at times, as evocative as the actions being channeled through our 50 trillion cells; the vastness of that number is a wonderful metaphor for the ever-expanding idioms of dance. Add to that the infinite style choices that have been, will be and are about to be made in the name of costuming—and I count street fashion as costume—and we all have what my friend calls, a butt-load of choices.

While dance and fashion are my two favorite pastimes, they also reveal much of our past and current ideologies: there is a perceived level of status that comes with dressing nicely, and eclectic dressers are often seen as more artistic. For every scenario, there is proof that some truism exists of how clothes (or lack thereof) inform our perceptions about someone’s professionalism, intelligence, status, approachability or grooviness.

Inhabiting a costume fascinates me with its otherworld reality suddenly and magically manifested, transporting me to a place that fulfills a textural, sensual, even aural fantasy and that is pleasurable, and sometimes not. Beneath fibers of silk, cotton or poly-blend spandex, in any conceivable hue or shade, the body as enlivened sculpture twists and turns, extends and floats, in repetition, or in a steady stream of fluid cellular activity. Reacting to the outside influences of music, space, time and media, the performer embodies the costume, strutting the stage, and creates an alchemy: the watcher and the watched agreeing the moment is real, true, and inhabited.

Sure, there is artifice in these moments. This is how we know we are part of the world, as we are pulled out of our own reality and given a set of fresh and enticing images to observe. When we do not readily understand this shared connection the experience can be even more beguilingly satisfying.

I revel in images from newspapers, magazines, and printed images from the net, that in their two-dimensional way, provide a visual tease of inspiration. Fashion and dance photography share much, provoking me to see how the dancer will finish falling out of a lift or asking, how the silver fabric on the Alexander McQueen jacket might feel? Stiff, luxurious? The illusion is addictive.

By now, I thought I would have made a clever segue into this month’s issue, but I got a little distracted; passions have a way of doing that. In the issue, makeovers and new styles are themed. Jorge De Hoyos interviews the effusive and charming Rob Bailis to reveal ODC Theater’s future look and programming. Down the block, the perennially challenged Theater Artaud has new parents—Z Space’s David Szlasa and Lisa Steindler. This attractive and super-smart team unveil their expansive, couture-like plans for the space. Like a repurposed outfit, Sima Belmar examines criticism, a sometimes dreaded and unfashionable word, in her wonderfully atypical way. Enjoy these articles, and more, each foreshadowing trends that amplify our imaginations and work.

This community wears its fashions with style, moving playfully to an inner rhythm that is evolving, personal and forever affects our spirits.

—Wayne Hazzard

This article appeared in the October 2009 issue of In Dance.

Wayne Hazzard is a native Californian and as a co-founder is proud to continue his work with the Bay Area dance community as the executive director of Dancers’ Group. Hazzard is a leader in the service field who is known for his work with fiscal sponsorship and on new program development. Hazzard had a distinguished 20-year career performing the works of many notable choreographers including Ed Mock, June Watanabe, Emily Keeler, Aaron Osborne, Joe Goode and Margaret Jenkins. Coinciding with his life as a dancer, Hazzard has and continues to work as an advocate for dance.