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 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.