By Rowena Richie

October 9, 2023, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE
A middle-aged white woman in a puffy orange vest does a dancerly pose on a footbridge in the woods.
Photo courtesy of artist
[ID: A white woman with brown bobbed hair poses on a wooden footbridge in the woods. She is wearing a bright orange puffy vest and dark jeans. Her leg is lifted and resting on the railing. Her arm raised over her head. She is grinning and looking at the camera on a sunny, autumn day.]

The Bay Area is defined by its bridges: the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the Carquinez Bridge, the San Mateo Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. This issue of In Dance is all about bridges and bridging, too. The way dance and our local dance community span divides of various kinds to connect and enrich.

Members of the Dancers’ Group staff share what they’ve been up to, linking us to new territories. Andréa writes about getting inspired and energized at the Women of Color in the Arts forum in Atlanta. Danielle examines the frontiers of motherhood—that it’s quite an adjustment in extraordinary and ordinary ways. Alex and Kat take us into the world of combating anti-fatness.

We’re also featuring some contributions by recent CA$H grantees writing about their funded activities. They, too, often write about bridges of different kinds. Their projects and practices span generations, pedagogies, traditions.

Another theme runs through this issue: the practice of being. Connie McKenzie brings the refuge of nature indoors through her immersive exhibition Flow. Dia Dear leads us through a Sick Dance practice, a practice that involves not “doing” anything. Audrey Johnson explores being in attunement with the land during her artist residency in Georgia.

The ideas in Audrey’s essay transported me back to the time I danced on a literal bridge, shown in this photo, from the fall of 2007. I was at an artist residency and spent most of my time taking walks and frolicking in the fields. I produced little in the way of tangible creative outputs but was filled with awe. One of the residency’s donors made it clear they were disappointed that I didn’t have a finished product. Today, I’m grateful to Audrey and others paving the way for work that challenges our notions of productivity and supports awe and wonder.

Placing my attention on bridging and being, the word Baying springs to mind. As in the act of grounding our bridging and being in the Bay. Baying is responsive, inclusive, creative. Street dancers, fat dancers, older dancers, disabled dancers—the Bay is finding its way.

What a gift that we live among marvels of construction and culture—pathways to connect us. It was my pleasure to cross over with the writers of this issue. I trust you’ll have a similarly expansive experience.

Rowena Richie's signature with a bridge replacing the "W" in "Rowena"

This article appears in the Fall 2023 issue of In Dance.

Rowena Richie is a San Francisco-based dancer, writer, movement facilitator, Senior Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health and member of the For You performance group. Wisdom Weavers is her second video collaboration with Alex Kornhuber. Their first video, Gertrude and Virginia in San Francisco, features longtime Bay Area dancer Virginia Matthews.