Welcome

By Wayne Hazzard

April 1, 2017, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

Looking Back with Love

Dancers’ Group has been home. For thirty-five years I’ve worked on and off, mostly on, for this art-full organization. Learning on the job has always been a tenant that allowed for, and foretold, exchanges with graciously gifted dance artists, funders and fans. As I sought a career path, it made sense to add arts administration to my dance-desires, because the work—writing a grant for a presentation or learning a part to dance on stage—supported me and many of the artists I wanted to work with, like Aaron Osborne, Emily Keeler, June Watanabe, Ed Mock, Joe Goode and Margaret Jenkins.

In the 1980’s, those first years of imagining the entity that is now Dancers’ Group, the cost of living in San Francisco was much gentler for workers on a budget. Assuredly, this laid the groundwork for arts entities of all kinds to add their vital visions to a growing, and now rich, landscape of generative artistic activity that’s experienced today. I will say, I did love a monthly rent of $150 that was easily paid by teaching dance classes each week and was augmented with a few cater-waiter gigs (to pay for daily dance classes).

A bevy of committed individuals envisioned and helped shape what would become Dancers’ Group, now celebrating three and a half decades of work. Of these teachers, choreographers, community activists and students, three primary founders emerged to create a new entity. The founders were Vernon Fuquay, Aaron Osborne and myself. Both Vernon and Aaron succumbed to the heart-breaking wreckage that the AIDS pandemic played on several generations of gay men, many working in the arts. With lives cut short and visions stalled, there were numerous creations and radical ideas that were lost.

This devastating loss of creative lives, felt in the Bay Area and worldwide, painfully adds to our dance history. A frame of loss that reflects inevitable changes and cycles, deaths and births, each tied to celebration and grieving with kaleidoscopic moments in-between. These instances will continue to inform a boundless and unstoppable love for our art and artists.

Let’s remember those who have come before. Not only my dear Vernon and Aaron. Names of those lost to us from a variety of illnesses, young and old, locally. We haven’t forgotten you, you’re why we are here and do what we do. A recalling of names:

LUCAS HOVING • NINA FICHTER • ED MOCK • KERIAC • REMY CHARLIP • DELLA DAVIDSON • MALONGA CASQUELOURD • SUSAN CASHION • RODNEY PRICE • TRACY RHOADES • BEN COLLINS • JOAH LOWE • CRUZ LUNA • FRANK EVERETT • PHILIP HORVITZ • RUSSELL HARTLEY • MICHAEL SMUIN • CHRISTOPHER BOATWRIGHT • AARON OSBORNE • MICHAEL KOOB • VERNON FUQUAY • JOHN HENRY • TOMM RUUD • HAFEEZAH A. DALJI (A.K.A. BOBBIE D. WATSON) • CHRIS HELLMAN • MICHAEL JONES • RAOUL PAUSE • ELEANOR LAUER • MANFRED SCHAECHTLE • MARY ANN KINKEAD • STEVE MERRITT • MEL WONG • CHITRESH DAS • THEA FAUST ANDERSON • VICTOR ANDERSON

This is an imperfect list of deceased dancers, teachers, friends, colleagues, lovers, and yet it seeks to pay respectful tribute in the way that headstones, and quilts, and other markers of death do—to righteously remember. Victor Anderson, co-founder of the Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, receives a righteous remembering in this issue, lovingly penned by Sima Belmar with community input.

For reasons that are so easy to describe—a love for dance-making—I have always made my way back to an artistic home that proudly provides much to me and many.

My wish for this 60th year since my birth is to find ways to honor dance, to persist in identifying resources for dance-makers while continuing to learn, love, and find daily delight in wondrous movement.

Courage, and Happy Anniversary Dancers’ Group!

— Wayne Hazzard


Wayne Hazzard, Executive Director Wayne 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; and he was acknowledged as a 2015 Gerbode Professional Development Fellow. Before his manifold career in arts management, Hazzard had a distinguished 20-year career performing with many notable choreographers and companies including the Joe Goode Performance Group, Margaret Jenkins Dance Co, Ed Mock & Co, June Watanabe, Emily Keeler, Aaron Osborne and more. Coinciding with his life as a dancer, Hazzard has and continues to work as an advocate for dance. For his unique artistic vision, Hazzard has received numerous awards, including an Isadora Duncan Award for his innovation, dedication, and contribution to the field of dance. And a Sangam Arts 2018 Mosaic America Impact Award. Hazzard has served as an advisor and panelist with such organizations as the Center for Cultural Innovation, DanceUSA, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, San Francisco Arts Commission, City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs, and Dance Advance in Philadelphia. He was recently appointed to serve on the Funding Advisory Committee for the City of Oakland.

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