Many professional dance companies in major U.S. cities dream of having more African American audiences for their work. Reality sets in as artistic and administrative staff look out over the crowd and wonder where all the African Americans audiences have gone. Sure there are a few people of color scattered among the sea of dance lovers, but not nearly enough to fulfill the dance field’s collective desire for more racially diverse crowds.
Articles Tagged as Diversity
January 15, 2013 · 7 Comments
December 06, 2012 · 3 Comments
As a teenager I was reluctant to openly study hip-hop dance although I loved the music, like much of my generation, because I had a vague fear I might be “stealing” it. It took a lot of pain and discomfort from many areas of my dance training to realize that no matter what my focus was going to be, racism was an element of so many stories in American dance history that it could not be avoided – and that ignoring it would not make it go away. It might make it worse.
December 05, 2012 · 2 Comments
Does concert dance happen in a concert hall? Master Juba or William Henry Lane performed in theaters and halls across the United States in the mid-19th century. Does “concert dance” imply some level of professional commitment or success? Lane, a black percussive dancer, toured internationally, receiving top billing over his all-white minstrel troupe. Does “concert dance” suggest some level of peer review or development of craft? Percussive dancer Emily Oleson ponders these issues and others. Read on.
Institutions are set up, in part, to provide job security for key positions, and an overall sense of constancy of support for the art. The problem is that definition leaves out a lot of artists and arts workers: the white elephant in the room at most Dance/USA events I’ve attended in the past. Now more than ever it seems the big ballet companies, the experimental independent artists, emerging leaders, and everyone in between feel the pains of struggling to sustain.
August 13, 2012 · 1 Comment
Discussions about diversity — dealing with race, gender, identification, politics, in or outside of dance — are discussions we will never stop having, whether we choose to participate or not. But to shy away from them, because they are uncomfortable or they shatter our safe reality, only provides more unanswered questions and more space for marginalization and the muting of underrepresented people, artistic practices, and the continued segregation of any ‘other’ not socially recognized.
An artist-centered sharing of culture and creativity is a practice embraced by many choreographers; serving an essential purpose in fortifying artistic inspiration and creative explorations, stimulating the artistic journey from the studio to the stage.
July 16, 2012 · 7 Comments
A young woman started to cry as she described her personal struggles with a career in dance, and the difficulty of working multiple jobs in the service industry without access to adequate health care or insurance.
This could be you.
This could be your dance student.
Small Strokes of Listening: A Few Reflections on Diversity from the Dance/USA 2012 Annual Conference
July 10, 2012 · 4 Comments
The unfortunate effect was the discussion had been silenced by a dance.... It was clear that
everyone in the room wanted more space and time for the discussion....
And so I was left wondering again: How and when do we listen to each other as a dance field? How can we create spaces that make room both for dancing and for discussing?