In Conversation

By In Dance

January 19, 2021, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

In Conversation is a series of interviews exploring intergenerational conversations about dance and different folks’ relationship to dance.

I’ve been thinking a lot about consequential strangers, or the people in our lives who “assume the supporting roles” and populate the broader reaches of our social landscapes.1 With shelter in place, this period of prolonged distancing has stirred up recollections of the people whose presence – and absence – is mostly felt in the periphery: the city employees I stood next to while waiting in line for the bus (whom I also unconsciously raced against as I ran the six blocks between the office and the bus stop), a former coworker I’d wave to while he was on the phone in the studio hallway, and the multitude of folks I only saw in dance classes who are always there until one day, they’re not.

In this series of interviews, the idea of consequential strangers converges with questions and conversations that have been percolating for Dancers’ Group:

How do you build a connection with another person without physical proximity?

How do we convey to others the value artists find in creating and cultivating partnerships in a capitalist, winner-take-all environment?

What would a youth-centered issue of In Dance look like? Who is considered “youth”?

In a year that has prompted deeper investigation and understanding of equity, what discussions are dance makers participating in?

What is the next iteration of the Bay Area dance community?

For much of the past year, we’ve missed those fleeting, in-between times when conversations about the intersection of life and dance could happen. This yearning for candid (dare we say, even “messy”) discussion, and the people who share these moments with each other, shaped this series into an open-ended exploration of intergenerational relationships – between not-quite-strangers, closer acquaintances, and intimate friends and family – and the curiosity, insights, and ideas that emerge from making a connection.

 – Introduction by Shellie Jew, Dancers’ Group Administrative Assistant, January 2021

1 Blau, M. & Fingerman, K. L. (2009). Consequential Strangers: The Power of People Who Don’t Seem to Matter…But Really Do. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.

Winter 2021 Conversations

All Audio Recorded and Edited by Andréa Spearman, Dancers’ Group Artist Resource Manager


David Herrera and Jocelyn Reyes

A headshot of David Herrera next to a headshot of Jocelyn Reyes
[Image Description: Latino man with dark brown hair and prominent nose wearing a light blue button up shirt against a white background. Latina woman with dark brown hair pulled away from the face, wearing a sun-kissed yellow halter top, smiling against a cobalt blue background.]

I wanted to see more brown bodies on stage. I wanted to not only see them but I wanted to hear their stories and have the concepts and stories be part of the narrative or the idea behind the movement. — David Herrera

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Claudine Naganuma and Selma Apara

A headshot of Claudine Naganuma next to a headshot of Selma Apara
[Image Description: Asian woman with dark hair in a half up, half down style, wearing layered turquoise necklaces and a black top with a cowl neck. African-American teenager with dark hair in braids, wearing an olive green tank top and a filter effect of sparkles around her face.]

If we’re always giving 100%, then what do we got? We’re depleted. So that’s an important thing for us to be able to support each other and a really important thing is to develop a circle of sisterhood. — Claudine Naganuma

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Maurya Kerr and Alaja Badalich

A headshot of Maurya Kerr next to an image of Alaja Badalich in a leaning pose
[Image Description: A light-skinned Black woman wearing bright red lipstick looks directly at the camera. She is seen from the waist up, wearing a subtly golden sleeveless blouse and using both her hands to twist her curly brown hair into a single tendril on her left. A sepia-toned image of a medium brown-skinned woman with short almost to the scalp brown hair wearing a metallic colored leotard, leaning with both arms crossed over her chest, one hand partially covering the lower half of her face with the other cradling the back of her head.]

I feel like poetry brings this place where the language lets me imagine and have a sensation at the same time. In movement, our body is our medium. Poetry is its own medium because it can make language come alive. — Alaja Badalich

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For more In Conversation content, read and listen here.

These conversations appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of In Dance.

In Dance is a publication of Dancers' Group.