Dear Community,

At the beginning of the year, the concept that this year would represent 20/20 vision resonated deeply with me. Vision. Self-reflection. Clarity. It was going to be a welcome change to the political finger-pointing and smoke and mirrors that have dominated the past few years. I envisioned society bursting with growth, creativity, and a fresh realization of the things we value – like dance!

In my optimistic dream-land, I almost forgot that we don’t get to the vision without a process. The moment where we SEE, HEAR, and ACKNOWLEDGE the people, the messages, and the systems that SHOW us where self-reflection needs to take place, where to look for clarity, and how to come together to begin building a new vision – together.

The racially charged murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor have been a devastating reminder that white supremacy remains pervasive. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, this month alone has been a harsh and urgent reminder that our systems aren’t actually built to serve everyone.

As we sit with these realities, we must each examine OUR ROLE within them before we come up with our new vision. There’s A LOT that we’re moving through, individually and collectively. ‚ÄčThere is no right or wrong way to process.

As dancers, we will recognize this as the creative process. Long, arduous rehearsals and extensive training will be required. There will be pain. There will be conflict. There will be mistakes. There will be disagreements. People will fight over “stage-time”. There will be a lot of grey area.

The most influential art comes from a creative process where dancers work together, listen deeply, RESPECT each other, and HONOR different experiences within the group. While a powerful soloist is exciting, a powerful ensemble is breathtaking.

It is with this process and collective action in mind that I hope we can move forward together. We must each identify our areas of influence and take action to directly support the Black community and the people most impacted. Black Lives Matter.

Emily Running – Founder + Executive Director