It has been a good year.
Entering the last month of 2010 provides me with the time to unwind, while enjoying the perennial holiday gatherings that always abound, and take stock of the personal and professional accomplishments of the last 11 months, a tantalizing task. There is much of which to be proud. Scanning my work calendar, I am amazed at the wealth of activities. Here are my highlights:
In February and March, we commissioned two new site-specific works as part of ONSITE. The first, Love Everywhere, was at San Francisco City Hall, with sections performed at Glide Memorial Church. This evocative work, conceived and choreographed by Erika Chong Shuch, brought together 50+ dancers and community members who performed with love in their hearts on the grand staircases, balconies and main floor of City Hall over the Valentine’s day weekend. The second ONSITE commission had Ben Levy working on the streets of San Francisco, creating a piece that collided new media, dance and a flash mob performance within the hi-tech influenced Intimate Visiblity. These works were made possible with major support from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, a relatively new funder for dance, theater and film that is helping to infuse needed grant money to a variety of organizations and projects.
Dancers’ Group’s community continues to grow through a vibrant membership program that counts over 650 individuals and organizations, comprised of dance artists and small-to-large companies. We thank each of you for your support. While our goal this year was to reach 1,000 members, we are not daunted and will continue to work towards bringing visibility to your work and ideas that can leverage more opportunities for you, our constituency.
We connected our work to many national dialogues that concern access to theaters and international touring, which informed a growing partnership with Dance/USA. Through several national endeavors we were able to bring additional funds and resources to the Bay Area. One is a new initiative that is also taking place in Chicago and Philadelphia, entitled New Stages for Dance, and funded by the MetLife Foundation, will soon award grants totaling $44,000 to local artists and dance companies to help them access performing in a new theater, increase their number of performances or allow them to share a concert. The program is designed to increase the potential of reaching new audiences, enhance production values and leverage additional support through these new partnerships. Our second project with Dance/USA happened over the summer at the 16th annual International Tanzmesse Festival in Dusseldorf, Germany. Dancers’ Group helped bring an American delegation to the Tanzmesse that was made up of presenters, artists, managers and agents, who attended the weeklong festival and booking conference that featured performances, rehearsals, and receptions highlighting the work of 100 artists from 20 countries. We are already engaged in advocating for Bay Area artists to attend the festival in 2012.
Rounding out our big projects in 2012, we have taken time to review our past, present and future as we engaged in a 9-month strategic planning process that both informed and allowed the Board of Directors and staff to realistically imagine what our hopes, dreams and desires are for this 28-year old organization. Within settings that included retreats and meetings, we quickly realized that over the past three years we have implemented a host of new programs and services, grew membership by 50%, doubled our annual budget and added a host of new staff members. Over the next three years, Dancers’ Group proposes to expand on its success as we deepen service to the dance field, meeting community needs and expectations even during a continued period of uncertainty.
I am especially proud of our work on our strategic plan and credit its clarity to our work with the dynamic consultant Laurie MacDougall, along with guidance from our brilliant Board and staff. As a believer in the motto, say it loud and say it proud, here are the five strategies that will guide our work with you.
• Strengthen ties to Dancers’ Group constituencies
• Maximize capabilities of technology to improve service to the community
• Expand public awareness of the value of dance
• Be creative and entrepreneurial in developing alternate funding sources
• Strengthen Dancers’ Group internal functioning
It’s no coincidence that our first and last strategy starts with the word strengthen, and with your continued support, we will be fortified and ready for new adventures and the new year.
I hope you too find time to review your year, and then congratulate yourself for all that you have accomplished. It feels good.
Then dream baby, dream about all the possibilities.
This article appeared in the December 2010 issue of In Dance.