FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2020
CONTACT: Johanna Tschebull
Washington, DC - Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, is pleased to announce Kellee Edusei as its next executive director. Edusei succeeds Amy Fitterer, who has served as executive director since January 2011 and who will transition out of her role on December 31, 2020. Edusei will assume the position of executive director on January 1, 2021.
"The Dance/USA Board of Trustees and staff are delighted to welcome Kellee Edusei as the organization's next executive director,” said Dance/USA Board Chair and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Executive Director Malik Robinson. “She enters the role as a true champion for dancemakers with profound knowledge of the industry and unwavering value for the full breadth of Dance/USA's membership."
"As Kellee steps into the helm, the Trustees have made clear our collective commitment to supporting her leadership and trusting her institutional history and insights. She has been an essential part of the remarkable strides Dance/USA is making to deepen its services for our members, and I am excited to follow her lead as we advance our mission to actualize an inclusive and equitable dance field. I want to thank the search committee as well as the entire Board of Trustees for leaning into a process grounded in our core values."
As executive director, Edusei will work with the Dance/USA Board of Trustees and team to address the needs of the dance field in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic; oversee the implementation of Dance/USA’s core services of engagement, advocacy, research, and preservation; move the Dance/USA team and Board of Trustees to become a more fully inclusive, anti-racist organization; champion a more equitable dance field; and secure a vibrant future for dance.
Edusei brings to the position 12 years of experience in the national dance community and within Dance/USA, where she most recently served as Director of Member Services. Additionally, she was the organization’s Board Liaison for 10 years. Edusei has developed meaningful connections to a broad range of stakeholders in the dance field. Her commitment to organizational development, innovative approaches to problem solving, and strategic decision-making through a lens of equity and justice will be an asset to Dance/USA and its membership, which includes dance companies, dance presenting organizations, agents, service organizations, independent artists, educators, and students.
“I am honored to become Dance/USA’s next executive director,” said Edusei. “I am deeply committed to change that is in service to all and affirm the importance, potential and plurality of dance as a vehicle to connect, engage and transform individuals and communities. Dance/USA has the capacity to break barriers and deeply connect the field, strengthening individuals and institutions to authentically bring about field-wide sustainability and I look forward to leading the organization.”
Edusei currently serves on the Advisory Council of Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA), and is a former member of both the Dance Exchange and See Chicago Dance Boards of Directors. She has served as a panelist for Alternate ROOTS and for city-wide grants for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, is a 2014 graduate of the American Express Leadership Academy, and was recently selected to participate in artEquity’s 2020 BIPOC Leadership Circle and American Express’ New Strategies Forum at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Edusei holds a bachelor’s degree in dance and Black studies from The College of Wooster and lives in Chicago with her family.
After a competitive RFP process McNeil Creative Enterprises was chosen to lead the executive search. Alison McNeil, founder and chief executive officer of McNeil Creative Enterprises, chose to lead a people-centered search process that prioritized transparency, flexibility, active engagement, collaboration, trust and consensus building. Over a 7-month period, Dance/USA’s Executive Search Committee committed to a deep reflective process that modeled Dance/USA’s strategic goals and helped to articulate what was needed for the organization’s next leader. National in scope, the search brought in approximately 80 applicants, and resulted in unanimous approval by the Board.
“We rounded out this executive search process by inviting Dance/USA's Board to articulate its commitment to effectively and sufficiently supporting Kellee's leadership,” noted McNeil. “The Board enthusiastically compiled the ways she could feel and see their support in action and I shared the Board's commitment list with Kellee. MCE's hope is that both Kellee and the Board will refer to that list often during her tenure as Dance/USA's Executive Director."
Dance/USA wishes to thank the search committee for their hard work and commitment in identifying the next leader of the organization. The committee was co-chaired by past Board Chair Michelle Ramos and current Board Chair Robinson and included Kathy Brown, executive director, New York City Ballet; Gina Gibney, founder, CEO, and artistic director, Gibney; Anne Huang, executive director, World Arts West; Rosemary Johnson, executive director, Alabama Dance Council; Sydnie Liggett, executive director, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham; Casey McEnelly, director of finance and operations, Dance/USA; Iquail Shaheed, founder and executive artistic director, DANCE IQUAIL; Rosy Simas, artistic director, Rosy Simas Danse; Mary Verdi-Fletcher, president/founding artistic director, Dancing Wheels Company & School; and Tamica Washington-Miller, associate director, Lula Washington Dance Theatre.
In the coming weeks, Edusei will be working closely with outgoing Executive Director Fitterer to seamlessly transition roles within Dance/USA. "Kellee Edusei will bring fresh energy, deep insight, and commitment to Dance/USA's mission to champion an equitable and inclusive dance industry,” said Fitterer. “I am very excited to see the organization grow and blossom under her leadership."
Propelled by our belief that dance can inspire a more just and humane world, Dance/USA will amplify the power of dance to inform and inspire a nation where creativity and the field thrive.
Established in 1982, Dance/USA champions an inclusive and equitable dance field by leading, convening, advocating, and supporting individuals and organizations. Dance/USA’s core programs are focused in the areas of engagement, advocacy, research, and preservation. Learn more about Dance/USA at danceusa.org.
Photo credit: Maria Ponce