By Wayne Hazzard

December 1, 2017, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

Look up and what do you see—an image that inspires? What are you thinking now?

Through images and words curiosity arises and inspiration abounds.

Dancers’ Group’s staff has frequent and lengthy conversations about what artists, events, and topics we will feature in In Dance. We grapple with a wonderful problem of having more content—ideas for articles—than we have space for in the publication. If you’re a regular reader you will have discerned a prioritization of writing about San Francisco Bay Area artists and companies. This not only supports Dancers’ Group’s mission to promote and make visible the abundance of dance in our region; it also showcases the exceptional artistry taking place here and adds to an expanded and rich discourse that illuminates dance. And there are at least a gazillion types of dance to cover!

I’ve been reflecting on this year’s articles and my head spins recalling the 63 pieces—available in print and online—that represent an ever widening range of topics that showcase what it means to move and be moved by artists in our community.

A highpoint of curating content for In Dance continues to be the opportunity to engage with writers that are as passionate about dance as the subjects they cover—such as the beloved critic/writer Rita Felciano. Her informed analysis has brought us articles that featured Dance Brigade’s 40th anniversary and the 39th season of the SF Ethnic Dance Festival, as well as reflections on the waves that Judy Smith has made during her tenure as artistic director of AXIS Dance Company. Writer Robert Avila has provided readers distinct and fresh overviews that look to disrupt borders, while choreographer Nancy Karp penned a first person piece as a reflection and response to the refugee crisis, which was the impetus for her work Memory/Place.

In 2017, we ran three distinct articles written by Farah Yasmeen Shaikh about her experiences of performing and teaching in Pakistan. This series provided a forum in which she could discuss how artistic practice is a tool for combating the spread of fear of the “other” — in her case, being a Muslim-American woman.

As a frequent contributor to In Dance, Heather Desaulniers has brought an innate curiosity to pieces that shed light on a diversity of aesthetics and dance traditions. Her smartness ensures readers will connect with artists like Miriam Peretz, the artistic director of Nava Dance Collective—a group of women who perform dance and ritual from Central Asia—and learn about Celia Fushille, the spirited and determined artistic director of Smuin Contemporary American Ballet. Heather’s interview with La Tania, which brought attention to the artist’s illustrious performing career in Flamenco, is one I have revisited.

A regular column now appears each month called In Practice by Sima Belmar, a highly regarded local critic, educator and writer. Her conversations with artists, before during and after making dances, continues to reveal a commitment to discussing the complexities of covering dance—a discourse and dialogue that will continue in 2018.  

Our continued thanks to a roster of regular writers that include Rob Taylor, Patricia Reedy, Kate Mattingly, Claudia Bauer and Ann Murphy. Each has helped us expand our coverage of artists working in traditions and those that take on the mantle of new forms of movement, education and performance. These conversations consistently break down barriers that some see as dividing disciplines, while others inform the freshest viewpoints, which can only continue to inform hearts and minds.

We are already starting to plan our feature articles for 2018 and we hope you will send us your story ideas to consider—or maybe even step forward to add your thoughts to these pages.

Wishing you moments that are filled with wonderfully warm seasonal fun.

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.