Welcome, Nov 2010

By Wayne Hazzard

November 1, 2010, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

“It gets better,” the current phrase and theme to an online video campaign seeks to help lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth understand the choices and support structures in place when contemplating suicide or other destructive behaviors.

These three words can also be an ongoing pledge to our creative community when it comes to struggle. Such as: not getting that coveted job, receiving a grant reduction or a rejection letter, having less than stellar attendance at a show, getting no press, or maybe worse, being taken to task by a reviewer for not being entertaining enough or making poor music choices. Within any moment of struggle, the notion that things get better is not readily comforting. Yet when we review difficult times, change is invariable. The brilliance of the truism, that change is inevitable, is that it provides a new perspective, a chance to value our ideas, and more important, to value ourselves.

Communication and transparency are what I take away from the “It Gets Better” campaign. Feeling isolated within any community creates frustration and hurt, and it seems that one way out of being misunderstood is to find people to talk with, which is why topical clubs and groups form, and help to focus the discussion. Dancers’ Group hopes this publication and our services provide a similar collective voice that informs and supports the community.

While feeling other is not a new topic, it does affect each of us at some point in our lives. As a reality TV junky, there is much that these scripted situations depicting a variety of jobs—chef, housewife, designer, drag diva, artist—that allows me to engage with their stories through a revealed creative process [even if the scripts are highly edited]. These depicted scenarios, especially the triumph of an underdog or surprise friendship between those that don’t see eye-to-eye, illuminate the complexities inherent in any decision making process, whether adding lace to a skirt, or lavender to a fish sauce, pay tribute to the beauty of seemingly random ideas colliding and creating a never imagined wholeness. Making it work.

Are the steps required to move forward a matter of patience and perseverance? Is it just luck to survive the bullies in any field? There are no easy answers especially when it comes to conflicts that can end a career or a life. Overall, communication is the strongest strategy to cope with challenges, growth and change.

Drawing on the recent, and you might even say expansive, space developments in our community, Dancers’ Group and Theatre Bay Area are literally counting venues, collecting data that will make it easier to find space to work in our extensive 11- county region. This new resource, housed under the Bay Area Performing Art Spaces website, will document the places where we rehearse, teach and present dance and theater in the Bay Area, with the goal of bringing visibility to every imaginable source for creation.

We live in a time of unparalleled access to information and people, what with blogs, websites, chat rooms, Facebook friends and even live groups, all keeping us aware of the powerful shifts occurring so that we stay current and connected. As you enjoy the variety of ideas within, join me in sharing stories with the potential to inspire and change. Within these conversations, look for the experiences that expand and engage.

As someone who makes me laugh and sees the best in herself and others, remember what RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love someone else.”

Amen.


Wayne Hazzard, Executive Director Wayne 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; and he was acknowledged as a 2015 Gerbode Professional Development Fellow. Before his manifold career in arts management, Hazzard had a distinguished 20-year career performing with many notable choreographers and companies including the Joe Goode Performance Group, Margaret Jenkins Dance Co, Ed Mock & Co, June Watanabe, Emily Keeler, Aaron Osborne and more. Coinciding with his life as a dancer, Hazzard has and continues to work as an advocate for dance. For his unique artistic vision, Hazzard has received numerous awards, including an Isadora Duncan Award for his innovation, dedication, and contribution to the field of dance. And a Sangam Arts 2018 Mosaic America Impact Award. Hazzard has served as an advisor and panelist with such organizations as the Center for Cultural Innovation, DanceUSA, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, San Francisco Arts Commission, City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs, and Dance Advance in Philadelphia. He was recently appointed to serve on the Funding Advisory Committee for the City of Oakland.

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