Generations Positive: Sean Dorsey Dance

Organization Name: Sean Dorsey Dance

City: San Francisco

Program Name: Generations Positive

Time of Program: Anytime of day or early evening.

Program Length: Workshops range from 1.5 to 2 hours; community forums range from 2 to 3 hours.

Program When Elaborate: The workshops, classes and community forums we offer in this program are offered during the same week as our touring performances of THE MISSING GENERATION.

Goal: - To elevate transgender and LGBTQ longtime AIDS survivors and trans/LGBTQ AIDS history as sources of insight, role models, inspiration and insight – in order to deeply engage audiences; - To elevate transgender and LGBTQ longtime AIDS survivors and trans/LGBTQ AIDS history as sources of of insight, role models, inspiration and insight – in order bring entirely new (transgender, gender-nonconforming, HIV+ and LGBTQ) audiences to dance; - To authentically welcome, engage, support and inspire multiple generations of transgender, gender-nonconforming and LGBTQ people using movement and stories that are accessible and relevant; - To engage trans and LGBTQ people through participatory dance experiences that are actively trans-positive, LGBTQ-positive, HIV/AIDS-positive, non-judgmental, mixed-ability and truly accessible to people of all levels (including terrified beginners); - To create supportive community forum space for trans and LGBTQ people to share stories and experiences of HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS history and HIV/AIDS activism including cultural activism; - To build local community and dialogue around trans and LGBTQ experiences of HIV/AIDS and the Arts; To connect longtime survivors with young people living with HIV/AIDS or interested in learning or activism around HIV/AIDS.

Time of Year Offered: Anytime of year.

Program Description:

Sean Dorsey Dance conducts our community engagement program Generations Positive as we tour and perform our full-evening work THE MISSING GENERATION.

THE MISSING GENERATION gives voice to transgender and LGBTQ longtime survivors of the early AIDS epidemic. Dorsey created the work after recording 75 hours of oral history interviews with longtime transgender and LGBTQ survivors across the US, hosting community forums, and leading participatory self-expression workshops for multiple generations of trans and LGBTQ people.

(Note: Sean Dorsey Dance’s community engagement program TRANSform Dance program is not described in this cookbook recipe. Please contact the company for information on that program.)

As a longtime transgender artist and activist, Dorsey is uniquely positioned in his leadership of this program.

Sean Dorsey Dance conducts Generations Positive activities during residencies ranging from 1 day to 2 weeks, in which we offer presenters a custom-tailored program built from the following activities:

“TRANS-FRIENDLY DANCE WORKSHOPS: TERRIFIED BEGINNERS WELCOME!”
- This 1.5 or 2-hour workshop is led by Sean Dorsey and his all-LGBTQ company of dancers.
- We welcome participants with an opening circle, and then lead participants through breathing and affirmations, a gentle warmup, modern dance terminology and technique exercises, across the floor work, simplified Sean Dorsey Dance repertory, cool-down with breathing and affirmations, and then a closing circle.
- Participant surveys show that this was the first-ever dance class/workshop for most of our 500+ trans participants to date.
- Why the phrase “terrified beginner”? Most transpeople have never set foot in a dance class, yoga studio or gym since these spaces are at best unwelcoming and at worst, hostile and physically unsafe for trans people (especially if they do not conform to binary gender expression or do not “pass” as male or female).
- Workshops are always held in wheelchair accessible spaces, and offer at least one all-gender restroom and changing room.
- All promotional materials (social media, websites, flyers) explicitly let people know that: the venue is wheelchair accessible and offers an all-gender restroom and changing room. We also list a long list of FAQ’s tailed for transgender and gender-nonconforming terrified beginners including what to wear, if there will be touch involved, if there will be speaking involved, if we will be barefoot, etc.

“DANCE YOUR STORY!” – LGBTQ-FRIENDLY DANCE AND SELF-EXPRESSION WORKSHOPS
- This 1.5 to 2-hour workshop is led by Sean Dorsey and his all-LGBTQ company of dancers.
- We welcome participants with an opening circle, and then lead participants through breathing and affirmations, a gentle warmup, modern dance terminology and technique exercises, and simple phrasework. We then lead participants through a series of movement creation tools, and support participants to create spoken and danced expressions of their own ‘story,’ which we share with each other. We do a collective cool-down, breathing and affirmations, and end with a closing circle.
- Participant surveys show that this was the first-ever movement-based class/workshop for most of our 500+ trans participants to date.
- Workshops are always held in wheelchair accessible spaces, and offer at least one all-gender restroom and changing room.
- Note: Most transpeople have never set foot in a dance class, yoga studio or gym since these spaces are at best unwelcoming and at worst, hostile and physically unsafe for trans people (especially if they do not conform to binary gender expression or do not “pass” as male or female).
- Because of this fact, promotional materials (social media, websites, flyers) explicitly let people know that: the venue is wheelchair accessible and offers an all-gender restroom and changing room. We also list a long list of FAQ’s tailed for transgender and gender-nonconforming terrified beginners including what to wear, if there will be touch involved, if there will be speaking involved, if we will be barefoot, etc.

“GENERATIONS POSITIVE COMMUNITY FORUMS” – Forums about LGBTQ experiences of HIV/AIDS
- These 2-4 hour inter-generational community forums bring LGBTQ elders who are longtime AIDS survivors together in conversation with LGBTQ youth and adults. Dorsey co-facilitates along with at least one local HIV/AIDS activist or artist.
- These communities promote inter-generational exchanges. LGBTQ communities are very segregated by age: many of us have been rejected by our birth families and don’t have inter-generational relationships.
- We share losses and grief; but we also talk about strategies for organizing, making art as Resistance, love and solidarity … a profound exchange that flows across multiple generations of LGBTQ people.
- Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are provided – or sometimes brunch – creating a ‘family-style’ gathering where our bodies and hearts are equally supported.
- Promotional materials (social media, websites, flyers) explicitly let people know that: the venue is wheelchair accessible and offers an all-gender restroom.

POST-SHOW CONVERSATIONS:
- Sean Dorsey facilitates special post-show conversations immediately following performances of THE MISSING GENERATION, in order to hold space for survivors, create dialogue and educate younger audiences, respond to community questions and build community.
- Promotional materials (social media, websites, flyers) explicitly let people know that: the venue is wheelchair accessible and offers an all-gender restroom.

Number of Participants: Trans-friendly workshops and classes: range from 10 to 50 people. Dance Your Story workshops: range from 8 to 25 people. Community forums: range from 15 to 60 people. Post-show conversations: on average, at least 80% of audiences stay for our post-show conversations.

Target Audience: Transgender and gender-nonconforming people, LGBTQ people, people who experienced the early AIDS epidemic, people living with HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ elders and seniors, dance audiences, LGBTQ activists and artists, theater audiences.

Is the program for kids? Our program is for all ages: if a presenter requests a workshop, class or forum for teens or youth, we design and conduct that activity accordingly.

Private/Public Public

Nature of Audience Engagement: All Generations Positive activities are offered in person (ie. not online). Participants engage by: - dancing and moving in our workshops and classes - speaking and dancing their OWN stories in our workshops and classes - engaging in community conversations in our forums - asking questions and giving answers in our community forums and post-show conversations - listening to elders and youth and history in our community forums and post-show conversations - eating and drinking together at our community forums - watching, listening, learning and dancing Sean Dorsey Dance repertory at workshosp - listening to each other in community forums, workshops and post-show conversations - providing written feedback (workshop surveys, audience surveys, forum surveys) - providing written - socializing with the artists and community members at forums

Location: Workshops and classes: held in a community dance studio or in the theater’s dance studio. Venue must be wheelchair accessible, and must offer at least one all-gender restroom and changing room. Community forums: held either at the theater (lobby, large meeting room) or in a trans, LGBTQ or QTPOC (queer and trans people of color) community space. Venue must be wheelchair accessible, and must offer at least one all-gender restroom and changing room. Post-show conversations: in the theater.

How Many Staff: Generations Positive is managed by 2 staff, and its activities are conducted by Artistic Director Sean Dorsey and his company dancers. Workshops and classes: led by Sean Dorsey and his company dancers. Requires at least one local staff person to secure venue, manage promotion, secure volunteers and at least one staff person or volunteer to coordinate space set-up, arrival/sign-in of participants, and clean-up. We recommend working with at least two local nonprofits as community partners to help promote and secure attendance. Community forums: co-facilitated by Sean Dorsey with at least one local LGBTQ HIV/AIDS activist. Requires at least one local staff person to secure venue, manage promotion, secure volunteers and at two staff or volunteers to coordinate space set-up, arrival/sign-in of participants, and clean-up. We recommend working with at least two local nonprofits as community partners to help promote and secure attendance. Post-show conversation: announced by theater before performance, facilitated immediately after the performance by Sean Dorsey and his dancers.

Program Cost: The budget for Generations Positive varies widely since each residency is custom-built for each presenter. Core costs include: Workshops and classes: $500 to $1500 in instructor fees, $50-100 for supplies, $0 to $250 for space rental, $250 for promotion, $0 to $250 for documentation. Forums: $200 to $1000 in honoraria for co-facilitators, $0 to $400 for space rental, $50-100 for supplies, $100-200 for snacks and beverages, $250 for promotion, $0 to $250 for documentation. We also ask presenters to budget for 4-10 free tickets to our performance(s) for each non-profit community partner that helps outreach, promote and recruit participants for activities.

Marketing for Program: In order to reach and engage the profoundly underserved transgender and LGBTQ communities that our program is designed for, we promote Generations Positive using a three-fold strategy: 1. Presenter/theater promotes activities using their website, social media, email list or e-newsletter, printed newsletter and season brochure. Presenter/theater may additionally nominate a key Board member or volunteer to serve as an “ambassador” or advocate to focus on grassroots outreach and recruitment. 2. Sean Dorsey Dance has a national following and relationships with transgender, LGBTQ, QTPOC and other nonprofits and organizations across the US: SDD leverages our longtime activist network relationships to serve as “ambassadors” or advocates to focus on grassroots outreach and recruitment. Additionally, we leverage our national social media following and national email list. 3. Sean Dorsey Dance staff works with presenter/theater to identify 2-4 local transgender, LGBTQ, QTPOC, HIV/AIDS and other nonprofits, agencies, support groups and organizations – who serve as Community Partners for Sean Dorsey Dance’s residency and promote and co-sponsor our Generations Positive program activities.

Cost for Program Participants: Most workshops and classes are held free of charge; some theaters ask for a sliding scale for workshops. Post-show conversations require a ticket to the performance.

Attendance To Date: 5000

Past Iterations: We have conducted this program in 20 cities across the US.

What works? We have a long history of successfully engaging diverse transgender and LGBTQ communities across multiple generations because of the advance work we do with presenters and local Community Partners. Advice: people in leadership working with transgender communities should be transgender.

What doesn't work? n/a

Performances Where Offered: We offer community engagement activities with all touring performances by Sean Dorsey Dance. Community engagement is at the core of Sean Dorsey Dance's work (creation, development, performance and touring).

Past Research on Program: We use participant surveys and audience surveys -- along with conversations and anecdotal feedback -- to constantly refine and develop our program.

Continuing Program? YES! We have also launched an additional community engagement program TRANSform Dance.

Additional Comments:

Engaging Dance Audiences support has been transformational for our organization -- and the communities we engage and work with.

Resources & Links:

Learn more about Sean Dorsey Dance: http://seandorseydance.com/

Learn more about our organization: http://freshmeatproductions.org
(Fresh Meat Productions invests in transgender and gender-nonconforming artists as powerful agents of change. Now celebrating our 17th season, we create, present and tour year-round transgender arts programs. Our programs include: Sean Dorsey Dance, the annual Fresh Meat Festival of trans and queer performance, arts services for trans artists and organizations, and our national education program TRANSform Dance.)

Learn more about Generations Positive:
http://freshmeatproductions.org/generations-positive-lgbtq-community-engagement-program/

Learn more about TRANSformDance: http://seandorseydance.com/transformdance/


Target Audiences Young Adults, 25-35 Seniors General Audiences

Event Formats Participatory Engagement Methods: involving the audience in activities such as dancing or choreographing

Dance 101 Participation - attending performances Participation - moving

Online Engagement In person

Social Bonding Aspects With artists - meeting a choreographer, dancers