Council & Affinity Group Descriptions and Chairs

Dance/USA Councils

A Dance/USA Council is a peer group generally denoted by a membership category (e.g., Service Organizations Council, Presenters Council, etc.) or job function (e.g., Managers Council, Agents Council, etc.). See below for a complete list of Dance/USA Councils and Chairs. Continue scrolling for a complete list of Dance/USA Affinity Groups.

The Councils meet in-person at Dance/USA Annual Conferences and connect throughout the member year via member Google Groups, quarterly Council Calls hosted by Dance/USA, and informal meetings in various locations across the country. Councils give members of Dance/USA an opportunity to discuss current issues and trends in the field and how these issues and trends affect their business.

Councils are not used as a marketplace, but instead as a gathering of industry professionals engaged in peer-to-peer networking, career development, and building a collaborative environment. Council agendas are designed by Council Chairs, in consultation with Council members, and are facilitated by the Council Chair.

Agents, Managers, Producers & Promoters Council | 2022-23 Council Chairs: Francine Sheffield, founder, Sheffield Global Arts Management & senior partner, Rhizome Arts; Kristopher McDowell, Rhizome Arts Consulting; Michelle Coe, Urban Bush Women; Sandy Garcia, Pentacle

  • This Council is comprised of booking agents and artist representatives for companies and artists large and small, emerging to established. The Council works together and with fellow Dance/USA Councils to keep abreast of issues, strategies, and trends related to touring dance throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Artistic Directors Council for Member Companies with Budgets of $3 Million and Greater | 2022-23 Council Chair: Tara Birtwhistleartistic director, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet

  • The purpose of this Council is to provide opportunities for its members to discuss issues pertinent to their unique careers as well as resources and networking for professional development.

Artistic Directors Council for Member Companies with Budgets of $2.9 Million or Less | 2022-23 Council Chair: Karen Charles, artistic/executive director, Threads Dance Project

  • The purpose of this Council is to provide opportunities for its members to discuss issues pertinent to their unique careers as well as resources and networking for professional development.

Managers Council for Member Companies with Budgets of $15 Million and Greater | 2022-23 Council Chair: Ellen Walker, executive director, Pacific Northwest Ballet

  • This Council is composed of executive administrators for dance companies with operating budgets of $15 million or more. Council members discuss common experiences on topics of relevance including, but not limited to: union labor relations; effective management of supply and demand of their product; artistic ownership, rights, and royalties; fundraising strategies and trends; real estate management; and individual experiences in managing their respective company’s operations.

Managers Council for Member Companies with Budgets from $3-$14.9 Million | 2022-23 Council Chair: Scott Altman, president/CEO, Cincinnati Ballet

  • This Council consists of senior management and/or executive administrators of dance companies with operating budgets between $3 million to $14.9 million. The purpose of this Council is to discuss common areas of concern and best practices in areas such as governance structure, dance schools, marketing, development, board relations, production, human resources, technology, etc. An equally important purpose is to provide networking opportunities for its members.

Managers Council for Member Companies with Budgets from $750,000-$2.9 Million | 2022-23 Council Chair: Rhetta Shead, director of administration, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

  • This Council is composed of executive directors of companies that employ separate artistic and executive directors and individuals who may perform both functions. The council focuses on issues relating to artistic and executive directors’ overall organizational management and development, as determined most useful by its members.

Managers Council for Member Companies with Budgets of $749,000 or Less | 2022-23 Council Chair: Katie Moore-Derkits, executive director, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers (KYL/D)

  • Recognizing the diverse responsibilities of individuals who work in organizations with budgets under $749,000, this council is composed of administrators and artists with managerial responsibilities. Aiming to provide opportunities for networking and professional development, this Council is a forum to discuss management issues emerging from limited time and resources, often including the cost-effective application of technology, diversity and accessibility, sustainability, and planning for growth.

Presenters Council | 2022-23 Council Chairs: Shoshona Currier, director Bates Dance Festival; Jane Raleigh of John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Tariq O’Meally of Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center; Kristen  Brogdon of University of Minnesota Northrop Dance Series; Cameron Morgan of Vail Dance Festival

  • Seeking to serve the broadest constituency of dance presenters around the country, this Council is open to dance presenters of all dance forms, organizational size and structure. The Council exists to provide a forum for peer-to-peer exchanges in issues affecting the touring and presenting of dance, as well as dialogue about issues affecting the broader dance community.  The Council welcomes the input of its members to set agendas and lead such conversations.

Service Organizations Council | 2022-23 Council Chair: Emily Runningfounder of Dance Wire

  • This Council, composed of administrators and artists whose primary focus is providing service to the field, offers opportunities to share best practices and programs, address challenges, create joint programming, garner vital information from specially invited experts, and to network with colleagues from across the country.

Council Election Procedures

Each Standing Council elects a Council Chair to coordinate Council meetings/calls. A Council Chair’s term lasts for one year, from July 1 to June 30, and Council Chairs may serve up to three consecutive terms. If a Council Chair has not reached their three term limit and wishes to remain as Council Chair for a second or third term, their intentions should be made clear prior to the election or nomination period.  A Council may also choose to elect a Chair-Elect or Co-Chair for their Council. The Chair-Elect does not serve in an official capacity and is not subject to term restrictions, but does assist with Council activities and is often designated to take over as Council Chair when the current Chair finishes his or her term.

In early April, current Council Chairs will contact their Council members to prepare for an electronic election process. Council Chairs should be selected no later than May 15. This electronic election allows council members who cannot attend the Council Meeting to vote for a Council Chair. If you have any questions about the election process for Council Chairs, please contact your Council Chair or the Director of Member Services.

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Dance/USA Affinity Groups

Affinity Groups function similarly to a Dance/USA Council by providing Group members a forum to discuss current issues and trends within their slice or sector of the field. Additionally by connecting with one’s Group, Group members are able to network and strengthen their professional connections with a national scope, hone their leadership skills, learn from others, and share their learning.

  • Production Directors & Staff ^: chaired by Christopher Dennis of San Francisco Ballet, Shannon Goffe of Oregon Ballet Theater, and Daniel Wellman of Philadelphia Ballet
  • Marketing Directors & Staff ^: chaired by Lia Chiarelli of Pacific Northwest Ballet
  • Development Directors & Staff ^: chaired by Christi Lotz of Ballet Austin
  • Company Managers & those whom assume responsibilities related to company management ^: chaired by Eugene Alvarez of Ballet Austin, Alexis Parente of Philadelphia Ballet, and Brooke Wahlquist of Nevada Ballet Theatre
  • School Directors & Staff ^: both artistic and administrative; chaired by Grace Holmes of Kansas City Ballet, Raymond Rodriguez of Joffrey ballet, and Jennifer Sommers of Houston Ballet
  • Community Engagement and Education Directors & Staff ^: chaired by Teresa Masterson of Sarasota Ballet, Monica Stephenson of Miami City Ballet,  and Richard Toda of American Ballet Theatre
  • CFO & Staff ^:chaired by Michelle Muller of Richmond Ballet. Vice Chair Lorin Wolfe of Nevada Ballet Theatre
  • Deaf & Disability **: co-chaired by Douglas Scott of Full Radius Dance and Judy Smith formerly of AXIS Dance Company
  • Archiving and Preservation **: chaired by Genie Guerard of UCLA Library**

^ denotes Dance/USA Affinity Groups that are accessible to dance company members with budgets of $3 million and greater.

** denotes Dance/USA Affinity Groups that are accessible to the entire Dance/USA membership.

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To ensure you and/or members of your team are connected to your Dance/USA Affinity Group, please contact Dance/USA’s Director of Member Services with “Dance/USA Affinity Group” in the subject line.

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