Missed the 2018 Dance/USA Conference? Check Out What Attendees Said
Collected by Lisa Traiger
Relive some meaningful moments and insightful conversations from Dance/USA's 2018 Annual Conference. Or, if you couldn’t be with us, read what was meaningful to some of our participants. And, plan to join us next year in Cleveland, Ohio!
- “The opening plenary speaker was evolutionary and
revolutionary at the same time. [Roberta] was so spot on in terms of where we
are as an organization and in our own communities around the country. It was a
great way to get the conference started and she set the tone of the discussion.
It makes all the discussions after so much richer.” — Rosemary Johnson, Executive Director, Alabama Dance Council, Dance/USA
Board of Trustees, Birmingham, Ala.
- “The opening plenary when that young man [Christopher K.
Morgan] came down the aisle and prayed and then he spoke about how important it
was that hula was recognized as part of the dance community was an important moment.
It provides us the cognizance that while dance is universal, we all come to it
with our own bias and history.” — Kenneth Walker, Kenneth Walker Dance
Project, Los Angeles, Calif.
- “The biggest takeaway for me was Dance/USA’s new mission and
strategic plan, which I’m excited about. But I also appreciate the acknowledgement
that it’s not going to be easy. Amy [Fitterer, Dance/USA executive director] said,
‘We know we’re going to fail at some things and we know we’re going to succeed
at some things more than we thought we would.’ It seems like Dance/USA is committed
to being a leader in the field and more equitable in the community.” — David Mack,
Strategic Director, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, Los Angeles, Calif.
- “I have two beings on my shoulder. One is the cynical me
saying, ‘We’re still talking about the same stuff. It’s so disheartening. Didn’t
we learn from this 10 or 20 years ago.’ Then there’s this angel on the other
shoulder that says, ‘Thank goodness we get together once a year to re-think and
talk and re-address [these issues]. We are reminded of what has improved and
what we still need to grapple with and find new approaches.
“I wanted to be here for this commercial dance/concert dance conversation … We’re really trying to grapple with that tension on the ground. It seems to me that the only difference between commercial dance and concert dance in the end is how much money you’re being paid …. We have to drop the elitism and learn from each other and talk respectfully in each sphere. We really need to drop our attitudes and respectfully listen, share, grow, and not be afraid to not know everything.” — Dawn Stoppiello, Assistant Professor of Practice, USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance; cofounder, Troika Ranch; Los Angeles, Calif.
- “An interesting takeaway for me was being among the younger
attendees here; I was so pleased to see so many dance artists of my generation
represented and drawing tangible ideas [from the conference]. I also recognize
the history, lineage and connections with the older generation and how inspiring
it is to be continuing those footsteps.” — Andrew
Pearson, Bodies in Play, Los Angeles, Calif.
- “I was inspired by the dismantling privilege conversation;
it’s a conversation we’re having a lot now. We still need to have this
conversation [but] you can feel the progress. Over the years this conversation
has progressed and there are certain ideas in the room that we have all
collectively accepted, so we can look at the next step. As much as there is
still work to do, there was a feeling that we’ve been in the conversation last
year and the year before and now … we can feel that there’s some progress. That
is really inspiring.” — Ross LeClair, Producer, Joyce Theatre, New
- “This is my first time attending Dance/USA’s conference. I
was blown away by the extent and depth of the conversations …. They go beyond
dance and into the larger world in general. I appreciate the organization’s
mission and I’m looking forward to seeing what changes. The opening plenary
made me realize that what we do is about more than just dance and it set the
tone for how we engaged with each other.”
— Judy Marcelline, Operations
Manager, Mash Up Contemporary Dance Company, Los Angeles, Calif.
- “The wisdom circles were a takeaway for me …. Surround
yourself with people who love you. Trust yourself and trust the authenticity of
your work. Live in your truth through your heart, through your connections,
through you conflicts.” — Cheryl Delostrinos, Artistic Director, Au
Collective, DILT 2018-19 Mentee, Seattle, Wash.
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The opinions and views expressed in this article are the author's and do not reflect the opinions and views of Dance/USA.