It’s not always easy to make time to escape into dedicated space that supports our art making, and it’s essential to find that dedicated breathing space from our everyday chit- chat–electronic and human–so that we can fully commit to new ways of thinking and being in our bodies. Concentrated forums of study, like workshops–whether they are several hours, a full day, a week, or longer–are the perfect opportunity to re-inspire our desires in dance.
As a birthday present to myself, I recently enrolled in a one-day workshop with longtime process provocateur Anna Halprin. Having had the good fortune to present Anna’s work over the years, I was already smitten by her wit, wisdom and willingness to embrace and engage in the ever-changing world through dance, yet I had never committed to taking a class with her. Because of our working relationship, I knew that I would enjoy being in a classroom with Anna, but there were the usual lists of excuses–time, money–that prevented my studying with this phenomenal artist, teacher, and healer. When I read that Anna would be teaching at her first San Francisco studio on Divisadero Street, I let go of the reasons for not having time or resources to attend, and signed up. I also had the pleasure of taking the workshop with my dearest friend Mercy Sidbury, someone I danced with in the 1980s and ’90s. Taking a friend to a new experience is comforting; it makes me feel safe and then I have another person to re-live the journey.
Now at 91, Anna led a group with mixed-abilities, dancers and non-dancers, old and young, through her life-art process. What was revelatory for me was how quickly I was able to engage with Anna’s ideas, reminding me of the importance of showing up, taking time for other areas of study for my body. Even though brief, that time with Anna continues to provide a wealth of ideas and motivations for me as an arts administrator. I believe we never know when we will get the juice to move forward and that’s the beauty of stepping away from our day-to-day activities, letting go and embracing another’s viewpoint.
It does not surprise me that the number of opportunities to study with master artists and those testing new ground is growing. Within our annual summer workshop guide you will find over 79 workshops that take place in the Bay Area from May through August. Find your favorites and jump in. If you are a member of Dancers’ Group be sure to read our weekly emails that often offer discounts to many of the workshops described within.
Additional connections to the national community through workshops and professional development convenings are profiled by Julie Potter and Patricia Reedy. These writers have compiled a treasure trove list of activities that take place over the next months.
The one of a kind and “only in San Francisco” Ethnic Dance Festival, once again takes place in June with some exciting new partnerships for expanded programming in new theaters. Read Mary Ellen Hunt’s festival preview to find out the latest programming and then get your tickets to experience the wonder and expansive nature of our local dance stars.
On May 6th, Dancers’ Group invites you to join us for another free dance performance within the grandeur of San Francisco City Hall. Hui Tama Nui, a local Tahitian culture and dance company based in Vallejo, will present work as part of the Rotunda Dance Series. Enjoy opening these pages to find your favorite dance events, and I am sure you will invariably discover a new-found favorite too.
Take a workshop–don’t wait, commit to your desires.
–Wayne Hazzard, executive director