By Wayne Hazzard

Cover Photo of Magazine

Cover Photo of MagazineDenial, bullying, harassment, along with fears of violence, racism, and many manners of abuse are realities we live with; for a long, too long, much too long time.

Proximity provides a way to witness. Touch serves as one of the most intimate bonds: there’s the nuzzle of parent and child, hands held in camaraderie and comfort, and welcome embraces from friends that bring focus to the delicious pleasure of being acknowledged. Then there is the touch that is not wanted, that can come unexpectedly.

Are we okay?

The gift of our bodies is that they are ours alone to work with, cherish, question, be curious about. At 60 my body continues to surprise me, both in its resilience and also in its desire. I find the relationship to my body changes daily and through perseverance I am discovering that physical challenges—even past abuse—provide an opportunity to reflect on my evolving body. This has led me to meditate on uncertainty: Where will I be in 10 years? What will my body feel like? How will I continue to navigate uncertainty?   

Am I okay?

I am so proud of the stand that people are taking to say No to the many forms of abuse and mistreatment that can be couched under a variety of platforms. And what feels like the ugliest stance of all is when someone says “that’s just how it is.” Saying No is powerful and yet, sadly, saying No is only a first step to stop injustice and inequity.

Are you okay?

Depending on your experience you might think that what I’m writing about is stated too dramatically. Well, I say …. No, No, No! I have too often been told “it will all be okay” when a hand has hit me, when ugly words have been hurled at me, when I’ve been told I should not exist because of my sexual preference. It is not okay. Abuse is not justifiable.

Finding joy and hope amidst strife is a constant in life, and my work with artists provides a forum for reflection and healing. The act of coming together in the studio and in theatrical spaces is powerful and it’s a privileged experience that I am thankful to have in my life. I will always advocate for more mighty voices telling truths that are reflected in bodies that move and move.

The March issue highlights words, dances and ideas that inform the continued navigation of life and art.

Enjoy the intimacy shared, the care provided, the curiosity revealed and the comfort in being in relationship with dance.

This article appeared in the March 2018 edition of In Dance.

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.