The happiness of others is my happiness.
Over the span of 36 years working with artists I’ve participated in conversations that have allowed me to encourage, cheerlead, empathize, and often just quietly listen. Essentially the major bonus of my job is that I get to discuss what the artist I’m with wants. In that moment supporting their creative desires and worries—what a gift, what happiness.
Yes, even talking about worries with an artist makes me happy because it’s a way to release the concerns that inevitably come up when navigating dance-making, dance-dreaming—it’s the opportunity to share the worry that each of us thinks about.
Recalling the range of artists I’ve had the privilege to talk with astounds. How did a kid from Bakersfield, California with no formal arts training until college, meet and work with so many dance geniuses? It wasn’t luck, it was desire. An early aspiration emerged to support artists; coupled with a belief that the moving body, colliding with theatrical ideas, creates transformation.
I value each time I get to talk about an upcoming project. This often includes responding to questions about strategies to seek more money. And when an artist wants to dive deeper into their process—the work, the audience, connecting to communities and touring—I nerd out. This trust-filled conversation provides bliss.
Highlighting a variety of voices and activities that promote dance continues to permeate my life and this publication. I’m not unique in sharing resources and making sure that artists have someone who will listen to and support their artistic desires. Longtime colleague, and friend, Jess Curtis, the artistic director of Gravity, has launched a new Artist Services initiative that will help a select group of artists that are aligned aesthetically and politically to Gravity’s mission. This program is providing production, administrative and institutional resources. In this month’s first of two SPEAK columns Jess and the first cohort of artists write about being in relationship to a company that is supporting them to create and question.
Kim Epifano is the second artist featured under the SPEAK banner. Kim writes of her ongoing interest in being part of cultural exchanges that allow her to experiment with practices and presentational methods that activate and involve the communities she creates within. This year marks the 15th year of one of Kim’s signature projects, San Francisco Trolley Dances.
Being in service with one’s community is age-old. This month Sima Belmar writes about Patrick Makuak?ne’s navigation of placing his art and life’s work in a variety of settings, including a recent full-company trip to Burning Man. Patrick states about the Burning Man experience: “I can’t tell you how blown away I was by the inventiveness, the subversiveness, the acceptance, the radical expression of self, and the loving embracing community—it reminded me of our community, very welcoming.”
Revealed in an article by Gabrielle Uballez, a first time In Dance writer, is Rulan Tangen’s new work, GROUNDWORKS, that explores the question, whose ground are we on? An excerpt of this piece can be experienced at the Rotunda Dance Series on October 5 at SF City Hall.
Enjoy creating conversations and moments that motivate and inspire—and especially ones that make you happy.