I imagine we would all want to be informed of the following: Congratulations, you’re a winner! Hearing thunderous bravo’s with a standing ovation. Receiving that letter informing you that your work has been selected by a prestigious panel of your peers and will be presented next year and you will be paid a significant fee.
These are damn good words and accolades that we should all be informed of at some point in our life.
Each of us has our own mental list of hopes and desires such as acquiring that much sought after teaching position, with tenure; paid to dance full time; receiving a MacArthur grant; reading the perfect review of your work in a national publication; working for a company that inspires and challenges; being part of a loving relationship; winning the lottery; purchasing a home; and living a long life in good health.
My wish is that each of you receives any or all of this goodwill in your lifetime. And, if you currently have the perfect job, a loving relationship, good health, receive support for your work and, other equally wonderful honors, I hope you are always blessed with this and more.
Then there is the flip side. Most of us have certainly received not-so-positive news that came in the form of a professional rebuke or a personal disappointment. This could be the rejection letter that starts off, “I regret to inform you that your work,” or a critical misunderstanding of your work, or heaven forbid, news that your health is not perfect, or a myriad of other social, mental or physical challenges that seek to test our limits, summed up with the adage, “what does not kill one makes one stronger.”
Therefore, a desire to succeed, to make a dream come true when few resources are available—or there’s not enough belief in your vision—is universal and in the dance field may be an all too frequent a hurdle to try and get over. It seems that we sometimes need to have a mantra of “I can do this even though few think I can” so as to keep on believing in our ideas and ourselves.
Each of us will continue to walk, run, wheel, scoot, or skip along at a pace that motivates a trajectory of success. It’s not a linear path and as artists, teachers, administrators, and all forms of lovers of dance, we will always be pushing for more time, money, space and resources for our field.
Two seemingly different organizations and forms—both led by amazing women— Abadá-Capoeira and the San Francisco International Hip Hop Dancefest (SFIHHDF), are featured this month. Mary Ellen Hunt speaks with Márcia Treidler of Abada to reveal her driving spirit and committed passion that created a thriving school and company, to be celebrated in her company’s sixth season at ODC Theater. Brittany Delany reveals the many layers that dance diva Micaya has fashioned as a celebrated teacher of hip hop and artistic director of her company, Soulforce, and the annual SFIHHDF.
Deborah Slater shares reflections on her latest work that explores the stories of those involved in the military. The work’s inspiration comes from conversations with the phenomenal dancer, Private Freeman, and has spawned a deeper conversation with others impacted by the war and those looking to provide their service to protect our country.
This issue will introduce you to Dancers’ Group’s spirited and perceptive new program director, Michelle Lynch, as well as giving you insight and appreciation of the work of master choreographer Jay Loyola, whose work pays tribute to his Pilipino heritage and will premiere at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts next month.
My mission and work is always to find more money and resources so that Dancers’ Group can send out more letters stating congratulations, you’ve received support. It’s a Sisyphean dream, for as much as we push the rock forward, up the mountain, we will need to do it all over again.
Let’s keep on pushing for, creating, and dreaming of big wins.