Well-placed words of encouragement brighten any day. The timing in which a teacher releases nuggets of wisdom and kindness has the ability to motivate and even alter a person’s life path. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have and to have had amazing teachers—inside and outside the dance studio—who, through their practiced principles, provided a multitude of opportunities for me to find my way. Their unique vantage points, expressed through sometimes simple language, gestures and even unspoken moments, guided me, allowing me to develop the skills to excel in the world of dance. Their lasting gifts are treasured and live on in my own beliefs, and I only hope that I provide as much inspiration and love that my teachers did for me: Aaron Osborne, Elina Mooney, Lucas Hoving, Ed Mock, Margaret Jenkins, Joe Goode, Mercy Sidbury and Martin Inn, to name just a few that offered profound insight to my moving body, granting me the coordinates to determine how my work would manifest in the studio, on stage and in life.
Mine is just one of limitless examples of how the student-teacher, disciple-guru, relationship keeps the world churning with not only new dancers, but art-making and other creative projects. It’s the age-old quest to pass on what has been learned, to inspire the next generation to create methods that could never have been imagined, and in many instances, carry on tradition.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, we are blessed to have an inordinate amount of good dance education that occurs here. We highlight the many workshop opportunities taking place May through August. In the enclosed pull-out section, there are over 100 offerings listed, and these are only the workshops that met the deadline for the printed guide. Get ready to discover the variety of dance happening here that will allow you to embrace a new movement direction or reinforce a life-long practice.
Moments like this, that have me reflecting on dance education and the range of dance forms in the Bay Area, make me wish that Dancers’ Group had additional resources to quadruple the number of pages in this publication so we could commission more articles to highlight and inform of the incredible array of activities, performance projects, new artists and companies, as well as the venerable ones. Yet, faced with the reality of inadequate space/resources that limit our dreams and desires, we persevere, finding creative ways to make things happen, realizing that a little bit of something beats a whole lot of nothing. Or, as Ru Paul, my favorite T.V. drag puts it, “When the going gets tough, the tough reinvent.”
This month’s featured writers Mary Carbonara, Karyn D. Collins, Heather Desaulniers, Katie Gaydos, Katharine Hawthorne, Patricia Reedy, Michelle Lynch Reynolds and Rob Taylor share in illuminating divergent perspectives that support the dance ecosystem. The writings range from a piece on what led Flamenco master La Tania to make a life in the Bay Area, to an article on Dance Monks’ NOMAD festival tackling an issue concerning us all, the environment. There are four articles highlighting new opportunities for study, such as ODC’s Next Move summer intensives, as well as conversations on what it means to make work in the Bay Area, and how teachers inspire. The lens broadens with two pieces that showcases dance artists advocating for their work with elected officials, and also a dialogue in how audience engagement is deepening, and changing. I invite you to get comfy, grab a drink, prepare yourself to be motivated, and take action. I am.
This article appeared in the May 2014 issue of In Dance.