Welcome

By Wayne Hazzard

February 20, 2019, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

After completing an online test, the results listed my major personality trait as a diplomat. What a fancy title! And, of course, I embrace this diplomat moniker: a descriptor that makes sense to me given my passion for talking about and connecting people to all forms of dance. When I’m asked to speak about our field, I often say that dance is one of the simplest and most complex words. This dichotomy comes from the fact that each of us brings individualistic ideas of dancing and dancers. These ideas will include desires, visions and even biases about dance. My definition of dance has evolved to encompass all types of movement—from set choreography to improvised ideas—that illuminate moments in time.

Stillness is a dance—stillness as a dance.

Given the vast and expansive range of movement based practices—including what dance might become—are dreams of promoting the endless forms of the moving body an impossible task? Probably, and yet aspirations of expanding access to new expressive endeavors means tackling the improbable and impossible; starting somewhere, even if it might be viewed as insurmountable.

It’s imperative to diplomatically defend the right for dance’s expansion so that expansive ideas thrive.

Then there is the seemingly simple task of making a single dance. For some, creation can be overwhelming and too much to undertake; especially when factoring in the myriad costs it takes to place desired intentions in front of an audience. Thankfully, dances continue to be dreamed of, fashioned from loving and intensely focused hours of work, and then placed in settings that that allow us to experience movement ideas that will be collectively interpreted, and valued, and, yes, sometimes even dismissed.

As an introduction to the hundreds of opportunities to attend an event this month, we highlight a company marking their 70th anniversary (The Salimpour School), bring attention to a festival that promotes exploration of story and feminism (When Eyes Speak: Indian Choreography Festival) and feature articles on exciting endeavors (Somatic Costuming along with the Slay Your Dance Dragons Movement Confidence and Afro-Fusion Mindset Transformation Workshop). While each piece informs a specific aspect of dance, they all speak to an expansive community of movement-makers and their eager fans.

Included in this issue is Sima Belmar’s regular In Practice forum, which has taken a wonderfully wicked new format. Belmar takes to task former New York Times dance critic Alastair Macauley’s farewell article (he retired this past summer) that brings home the point of how complex it is to cover dance. In Macauley’s case, this coverage, aka criticism, reinforced his bias for the work of white men, and promotion of a Eurocentric view of dance. And yet, during his tenure at the Times there were exceptions. In 2015, Macauley traveled to SF and stated in a review that, “I know of no regular event that more effectively, more movingly, recommends this country’s diverse inclusiveness than the annual San Francisco Festival of Ethnic Dance.”

Embrace your dance desires while finding your inner diplomat!

 

This article appeared in the March 2019 issue 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.

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