What do you value about dance? This question is often asked in our office–with a host of amazing responses–and given who you ask, this simple question will absolutely elicit a myriad of colorful responses. My perspective as an arts administrator is deeply reflective of, and influenced by, the work of my mentors. I view everything I do as a form of dance, and this has allowed me to continue to find fulfillment as a dancer who doesn’t dance in a prescribed or traditional way anymore.
I am ever reminded that my physical practice builds a kinetic bond that generates a wholly unique experience informing how I relate to my work, friends, family, and the world. While this non-verbal connection is true for all forms of dance, it is not unique to our field, and I believe it is the reason sports play such a significant role in our society. Like dance, organized athletics also create life-long ties to the people engaging in the same sport. The loyalty, or call it fanaticism, to athletic teams and the stars that perform in them, are, again, not dissimilar to what we find in the dance world. Our society values athletic virtuosity and those that can excel over others, and the same can hold true in our community.
Yet dance artists and companies in the Bay Area continue to challenge the notion that dance has one viewpoint and that only the young, fully-abled, right-sized, or perfectly proportioned can dance. Our artists and organizations also generate work and performance opportunities that challenge how and where dance is performed–on walls, in plazas, on cars, on cranes–and these are just some of the positive images and messages that our community promotes for fuller, more complete access to all kinds of art and art-making ideas.
An unequaled indicator of the Bay Area’s diversity in dance practices and vision can be found in the work of Margaret Jenkins, Patrick Makuakane, AXIS, Jess Curtis, Sins Invalid, Jo Kreiter, Chitresh Das, Big Moves, Dandelion Dance Theater, Raks Africa, OFFTHECENTER, Charya Burt, Joanna Haigood, Keith Hennessy, Anna Halprin and more.
Bay Area Dance Week serves as an ambassador for the wealth of ideas and forms that abound in our region, and this month marks its return. It’s our community’s annual celebration of all things dance.
Now in its 14th year, the 10-day festival allows companies, studios, and teachers representing hundreds of dance forms to open their doors to the public by offering free classes, performances, open rehearsals, and lecture-demonstrations in a wide range of styles including tango, Bharatanatyam, jazz, hip hop, ballet, traditional hula, fire dance, Samba, modern, Chinese classical, belly, aerial, Scottish country, West African, contact improvisation and more.
Join the festivities and take advantage of the over 600 free events that will be offered April 20-29.
One Dance, the festival’s opening event at Union Square Park in San Francisco, is led this year by Rhythm & Motion, whose egalitarian credo is “anyone can dance”–an equally apt moniker for the objective for the kick-off event.
At the opening event, we will take time to acknowledge the 2012 Dancers Choice Award recipients, Della Davidson and Ernesto Sopprani. Open this issue of In Dance to read more about their considerable contributions, and find a host of other illuminating articles that pay tribute to our growing community.
Enjoy your definitions of dance, and embrace all that you can.
— Wayne Hazzard, executive director