Welcome, October 2014

By Wayne Hazzard

October 1, 2014, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

WHILE IT SEEMS UNDENIABLE that a plethora of dance takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, when I speak to funders, or politicians, or friends, or recent transplants, or even other practitioners of our art about the abundance of movement forms, styles, aesthetics and practices, I am amazed, and not, that they are surprised about the flurry of expanding activity here.

It’s my job to remain well-versed and informed about the range of dance—via research, my attendance at events, and talking to potential audiences, and new members of the dance community—but I think it’s vital for us to understand the ecosystem that comprises our dance community.

Fact: there are over 800 dance organizations/companies that represent the range of dance in the Bay Area; how many can you name?

Fact: artists working in a tradition are contemporary artists.

Fact: dance is more than what is represented on shows like So You Think You Can Dance.

Fact: dance company budgets are smaller than theater company budgets of comparable history/size because dance performances are typically only one to two weekends; why is that?

Fact: dance needs more support and always will; it’s evident in the nature of our thriving and healthy community—through barter/exchange and relationship-building with students, audiences, businesses, and funders—making us dependent on others to learn, create and present dance.

Fact: per capita there is more dance taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area than anywhere else in the nation.

When I speak to people I am equally proud to state that In Dance is the only publication of its kind, which is exciting and sad all at once. The extinction metaphor comes to mind, if you are the only species!

Fact: by commissioning articles that strive to represent the diversity of activity in the Bay Area, we always fall short in this objective, not having the room to cover all the incredible new projects and dance activity that is taking place in a given month.

Fact: we know there could be other publications like In Dance, that provide different perspectives and editorial practices, adding to the understanding of our dynamic community.

Fact: newspaper/print publications are expensive endeavors that even for-profit entities are struggling to maintain.

Because we want to reach and engage as wide a readership as possible, each month Dancers’ Group distributes 1,400 copies of In Dance to a variety of dance studios, theaters and public spaces in the Bay Area. Even this list of spaces is limited by the cost to get to spaces in the far reaches of the East, South and North Bays. Our hope is that those that discover In Dance for free will learn about a company, a dance form, a space, an event, an artist, or a festival, increasing their awareness of the range of dance thinking; thus contributing to their own dance journeys and the community as a whole—our ecosystem.

This column begins with a welcome, and in its truest meaning, we strive to make you feel welcomed, and accepted, and seen, and heard. Dancers’ Group is only as strong as the members that support its work. If you value our mission, to make dance visible and viable, and represent the dance community, then be sure to show support by becoming a member. If you’re already a member, then maybe you have an opportunity to make an annual donation. All backing is accepted, and cherished.

I am proud of the work Dancers’ Group does, and of you, and the articles within, and the events that will take place this month, and am ever proud of the new generation, and its new audiences, its new advocates, joining our dance community.

I treasure you and look forward to sharing the gifts that bodies in motion can bestow.

This article appeared in the October 2014 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.