Mission & History
Promoting the visibility and viability of dance.
Dancers’ Group serves artists, the dance community and audiences via programs and services that are as collaborative and innovative as the creative process itself. We lead as both a service organization and a presenter of performance opportunities. This hybrid engagement maximizes our impact in San Francisco and beyond and supports a vision of the region’s dance community as diverse, resilient, resourced and artistically vibrant.
Recognized as a national model in the field of dance, Dancers’ Group has roots that are broad and deep within the San Francisco Bay Area dance community.
Dancers’ Group’s strategic plan articulates that dance programming in publicly-accessible spaces, both indoors or outdoors, plays a pivotal role in stimulating public interest in dance and in positioning dance at the center of civic life. Consequently, supporting the creation and presentation of public dance programming is a top priority for Dancers’ Group. Helping artists make work is Dancers’ Group’s number one guiding principle, intimately connected to the organization’s audience engagement goals.
- Membership provides resources and information to 1,700+ members (as of January 2020)
- 35,000 audience members engaged through free public programs: Bay Area Dance Week, ONSITE and the Rotunda Dance Series
- 123 artists receive fiscal sponsorship
- CA$H regranting program award over $90,000 each year
- Our monthly publication, In Dance, reaches 66,000 readers each year
- Recognition for our work in the field includes 5 Isadora Duncan Dance Awards
We strive to bring a variety of artists and organizations together to create engaging partnerships and civic collaborations, ensuring that we continue to identify and leverage resources for our members and our community.
We work to build the quality and accessibility of dance in the Bay Area through services including our fiscal sponsorship program, Bay Area Performing Arts Spaces, professional training seminars, and our monthly publication In Dance.
Our admission-free presenting and co-presenting programs increase visibility for dance artists, engaging a diverse community in an effort to bring new audiences to dance.
In 1982, Dancers’ Group was founded by a highly respected group of teachers, choreographers, community activists and students. Of this group, three primary founders emerged providing the vision and skills to create a new entity. The founders were Vernon Fuquay, executive director; Aaron Osborne, teacher, choreographer and artistic director; and Wayne Hazzard, dancer and school/facility manager. The facility that the organization occupied was known to many as Footwork Studio and to a later generation of artists, students and the general public, Dancers’ Group Studio Theater. In its first ten years, Dancers’ Group emerged as a highly respected school and presenting organization aiming to unify, strengthen, and amplify the contemporary dance community in San Francisco.
In 1992, the region’s current service organization, Dance Bay Area, dissolved and Dancers’ Group stepped forward to ensure that several of Dance Bay Area’s vital services would remain. These services to the dance community continue today and are: the Parachute Fund, fiscal sponsorship and In Dance.
Dancers’ Group was evicted from its home at 3221 22nd Street in the Mission at the height of the space-crisis that erupted from the dot-com boom in 1999. The loss of our physical space allowed Dancers’ Group to investigate its mission and services to the dance field. Since that time, Dancers’ Group has developed new services, re-granting programs and presenting opportunities for dance artists and audiences.
Today, Dancers’ Group is recognized as a national model in the field of dance. Through a network of partnerships that have given it access to supporting dance across the broad spectrum of styles, forms, cultures and practices in the Bay Area, Dancers’ Group has built programs and services designed to fulfill the wide-ranging needs of the region’s diverse dance community.
Thanks to You
As in any recounting of one’s history there are many important people to acknowledge. We have compiled an edited list highlighting artists and teachers that have shaped the organization and whose work make up our history: Vernon Fuquay, Aaron Osborn, Bayan Jamay, Elvia Marta, Rosa Montoya, Ed Mock, Lucas Hoving, Emily Keeler, Karen Steele, Jan Van Dyke, Joan Lazarus, Anne Bluethenthal, Joanna Haigood, Dino Vinti, Joe Goode, Cheryl Chaddick, Jon Weaver, Mercy Sidbury, Deborah Hay, Priscilla Regalado, Tim Miller, Anna Halprin, Robert Moses, Cathleen McCarthy, Sara Shelton Mann, Mary Armentrout, Kim Epifano, Mae Chesney, Evangel King, Stephen Pelton, Mary Reid, Mary Carbonara, Ken James, Cynthia Adams, Lea Wolf, Keith Hennessy, Maxine Moerman, Emma Lou Huckabay, Susan Whipp, Rachel Kaplan, Chris Black, Scott Wells, Ruth Zaporah, Jill Togawa, Kevin Clarke, Monique Jenkinson, Micaya, Jo Kreiter, Patrick Makuakane, Katie Faulkner, Erika Chong Shuch, Amara Tabor-Smith, Kary Schulman, Linda Rawlings, Shinichi Iova Koga and many, many more amazing individuals.