By Wayne Hazzard

December 1, 2018, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

I’m breathing deeper, smiling more and sleeping. This is largely due to the results of the mid-term elections in November, which provided major wins locally and nationally—good news that was needed and deserved. And part and parcel to this good news is that in next year’s session of Congress, there will be over 100 women in the House for the first time in history. And: Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will be the first Native American women to serve in Congress; Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will be the first Muslim women to serve; Ayanna Pressley and Jahana Hayes will be the first black women to represent Massachusetts and Connecticut in Congress.

In San Francisco a significant Proposition that would impact arts funding was decided on. Prop E, with the tag line “arts for everyone,” passed with a whopping 74.28% of the vote. When in place, this new legislation will dedicate 1.5 percent of the base hotel tax — a 14 percent tax levied on hotel stays in San Francisco — to support arts and culture programs. The city estimates this will add more than $15 million in arts funding (through Grants for the Arts and the San Francisco Arts Commission) over the next two years.

Even with progress being made—I’ll dub them windfalls of hopefulness—there remains the ongoing important work towards racial equity, inclusivity and my personal objective of identifying and securing more permanent arts space in the SF Bay Area. To accomplish each we will need to remain resilient while continuing to pinpoint more opportunities for change. Dynamic resilience is now a daily refrain that keeps me moving forward while breathing deeply.

“Within the current dominant U.S. culture, the most common way we understand Power is through oppressive power or, power-over.” Aiano Nakagawa, a new writer for In Dance, draws attention to the fact that as an early childhood educator she provides opportunities for students to explore and understand their power through movement without being dominant over another person. The article goes on to illuminate a variety of topics that mirror larger social concerns around touch and choice that Nakagawa sees as vital to dance education.  

Oakland-based Cunamacué, led by artistic director Carmen Román, will finish out the 2018 Rotunda Dance Series season on Friday, December 7. Local educator and poet Yaccaira Salvatierra brings to life Román’s vision in an article that discusses how Cunamacué reflects Afro-Peruvian culture and contemporary expression. The company’s name fully embraces this blending of past and present—“Macué is representative of the ancestors; it is a stream in Mozambique, one of the places from which Africans were uprooted and taken to Perú. Cuna is the Spanish word for crib, representing future generations.”

Rounding out the December issue are articles that bring light to ways in which we think about our moving bodies—at all ages. In a SPEAK piece written by Greacian Goeke and Kaethe Weingarten they discuss how their “collaboration continues to evolve as we mine the complex intersections of life, death and dance within the vibrant natural life of the cemetery.” Heather Desaulniers is in conversation with Robert Dekkers about his dual roles as the Artistic Director of Post:Ballet and Berkeley Ballet Theater and how both entities create space for people to come together. Family, food, history and colonized bodies tangle beautifully in Justin Ebrahemi’s questioning of perceptions of body and that of artists asking parallel questions like “how does a Texas-born, Iranian-American Muslim femme deign to decolonize her body?”

Practice resilience and nourish yourself so that you can nourish others.

This article appeared in the December 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.