Welcome, Apr 2010

By Wayne Hazzard


Each of us holds a story of how we came to dance, some filled with rich histories motivated by family connections to the form, others focused on pivotal moments of observing a dancer. For many, these experiences were seen on television, within a film, onstage, or now, the Internet. My story is not unique, yet it has informed a life in dance over the past 35 years.

Without me even knowing what dance was, I was first inspired watching Tarzan maneuver through vines and the choreographed fight scenes of the campy Batman series. I longed for those physical moments and it absolutely helped that these dance objects of my desire were scantily clothed.

My early observations taught me that moving in one’s body meant confidence, and this showed me that dance was obtainable. The nooks and crannies of my personal history are no more special than each of yours and those accounts are now informed through my practice of tai chi, viewing performances and walking down the street.

Learning how someone found dance is one of my favorite pastimes, because this inevitably links those shared experiences between our histories. For instance, Deborah Slater and I share teaching aerobics in the early 1980s for Rhythm & Motion. Her formidable range of work and career is marked with a milestone celebration: 20 years of presenting a heady blend of dance-theater. Our dance history continues to cross through a variety of meetings that focus on visibility for dance.

As you can tell, history resonates within this issue and under an international banner, the annual festival CubaCaribe will for three weeks investigate the expanding definitions of Caribbean dance. Through an expressive mix of dance, music and film events, the festival’s featured artists expand on the definitions of their traditional forms, all through the lens of shared chronicles.

Local choreographers Kendra Kimbrough Barnes and José Navarrete split an evening of performance at CounterPULSE that couldn’t be more different. Barnes delves into family history and mines the complex arena of dealing with an incarcerated brother, while Navarette, a trained cultural anthropologist, investigates the global and personal impact of water. These engrossing themes are told through each artist’s unique movement style.

Danae Rees, with Luna Kids Dance, contributes her final in a three-part series on dance education that has helped focus and provide a context to the progression of dance education in Australia and the United Kingdom. No doubt the conversation is complex and the need for support continues as we look to bring more resources, at all levels of education, for arts in the classroom.

This month I am hoping for another history making moment as the ruling on same-sex marriage in California is announced. Fingers, toes, elbows, etc., are crossed.

Navigate your history and enjoy discovering the path that marvels and inspires.

This article appeared in the April 2010 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.