Welcome, March 2013

By Wayne Hazzard


In 1975 I walked into a studio in Cupertino, California to take my first dance class, a tap class taught by Pam East, and I immediately felt at home. Amidst my fellow classmates, listening to the instructions on how to hit the rhythms and the simple steps—tap, step, tap—across the floor saved me. Each dancer has her/his unique story, or epiphany, that assuredly describes the motivation that it takes to repeatedly re-enter the studio day after day, to learn how her/his body interprets the ideas and forms and aesthetics and concepts and traditions—new or steeped in a culture—with which they are being drawn towards and committing to making their own.

Finding our dance can be like finding God—a divine moment. This is most likely a naïve over-simplification of what artists feel when working at what inspires, and ultimately motivates them to keep going. Being a dancer/artist is work, hard work, taking fortitude and courage and perseverance to map out a life that might not always be seen as practical or logical or understood. Hallelujah to the life of an artist.

Dances are conceived all the time, most born from long-held dreams, and the articles in this month’s issue show examples of artists formulating and executing their ideas and inspirations, carving out the concepts that will bring individualized ideas to the stage, which in turn can intrigue, rouse and even bring about questions to their audience.

Following a path that few have tread can describe Sean Dorsey. The first out transgender modern dance choreographer, Dorsey revels in revealing some of the phenomenal stories and history of the LGBTQ community. Claudia Bauer interviews Dorsey to uncover some of the ideas and inspirations that go into making his award winning work.

It’s not difficult to tell that Mary Ellen Hunt adores how dance is made and performed. One experiences her astute observations in her reviews and previews for the SF Chronicle, and her love for dance is certainly evident in her considerations about the new collaboration that ODC/Dance will unveil in their home season this month.

I can’t think of a more resonant metaphor of teaching creativity and the empowerment to believe in one’s self than what a mother passes on to her child; Patricia Reedy and her team at Luna Dance Institute provide insight as to how their work functions for working mothers.

Equally amazing, two articles that bring insight to fortitude and discovery:  Evangel King shares perceptions of her journey back to the dance studio following illness, while James Graham describes what it’s like to dance in a work that questions long-held concepts of the relationship between art and the audience.

Oh, and prepare yourselves for Dancers’ Group announcement this month that our website has been reborn. It promises to be a dynamic new design with some technologically savvy interfaces that will keep you coming back to read about of-the-moment resources and happenings that are available and transpire daily.

With the season of spring entering, find time to listen and watch for the moments, simple or complex, that you don’t expect to be there.

This article appeared in the March 2013 issue of In 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.