Welcome, Sep 2012

By Wayne Hazzard

December 18, 2012, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

It has been a busy summer. It started with me waking up one morning with a sharp pain in my lower right abdomen that became appendicitis and within a few hours, I was in the emergency room being scheduled for surgery. I discovered that you don’t need your appendix, that appendicitis can afflict you at any age—they still don’t know why—and in this instance, painkillers are your friends. During my recovery, I was reminded of how I take my body, along with full range of movement, for granted. While walking and moving slower, I still found everything around me was moving full speed ahead.

The last three months at Dancers’ Group were successful due to the incredible work of our dedicated board and staff who played a role in helping to identify a wonderful new office space, hire a new program director and administrative assistant (read more in the news section, page 2), prepare for the overhaul of our website, see to the submission of grant applications, work with our fiscally sponsored artists, and put in the final preparations for the Dance/USA conference that took place at the end of June.

If you weren’t able to attend, here are a few highlights: watching the looks of amazement on peoples faces as they exited Yerba Buena’s theater after attending the performances showcasing the wide range of dance traditions and depth of artistry in our region; hearing people notice how the dance community here has a spirit of sharing and openness; how the opening speaker, Simon Sinek, inspired hundreds in attendance by speaking about trust, and reminding us to get back to the why of what we do. And one of the funniest lines came from Simon when he said, “nobody is a social networking guru because nobody really knows what the fuck they are doing with social networking!”

It seems everyone is trying to fully take advantage of Facebook, and Twitter, and Google+, and YouTube, and blogs, to promote their work. My mantra these days, to relax and use what works from these platforms and not get caught up in trying to do the social networking thing the right way, because most dance organizations can’t compete in the social networking whirligig—with notions of success being generated by very large for-profit companies that have multiple fulltime staff to work on their behalf. I do believe social networking works, so for a moment, let’s pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves we are doing a great job, given our resources, of getting the word out about our programs.

This month’s collection of articles augment a theme of performance, activism, research and community engagement during what we can agree are still troubled economic times. Kate Maddingly interviews Keith Hennessy and Julie Phelps to better understand his two-year long research into making work that allows Hennessy to learn more about what he describes as “corrupt and unjust relations between governments and corporate power/interests/profit.” Jo Kreiter has also been investigating her own questions about a failing America. Her latest work entitled, Niagara Falling, will premiere at the end of this month and is part of Dancers’ Group’s free public presentations through ONSITE. Emmaly Weiderholt brings to light the many concerns and questions Kreiter and her collaborators are asking, and those she ultimately seeks to reveal, while flying on and off a wall in San Francisco.

On what might be perceived as another side of the spectrum of activism and community engagement, Kathy Matta Ballet is working to make dance performances accessible to a wide range of people on and off the stage. Matta’s dancers will be performing for the first time at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and are looking to network with a growing audience. New writer to In Dance, Dave Feldman writes about the joy and heart within Matta’s mission.

Thanks for your contribution as a member and/or reader of In Dance. I hope your own summer activities where equally revelatory and that it has prepared you to enter a thriving September teeming with dance.

Wayne Hazzard 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. Hazzard had a distinguished 20-year career performing the works of many notable choreographers including Ed Mock, June Watanabe, Emily Keeler, Aaron Osborne, Joe Goode and Margaret Jenkins. Coinciding with his life as a dancer, Hazzard has and continues to work as an advocate for dance.