Relocation: a black dance center is retiring (mainly)

Are they black? No. White. I had to educate them. Does Kim also run the school? Well, the school is not part of the business. The f...


Are they black?

No. White. I had to educate them.

Does Kim also run the school?

Well, the school is not part of the business. The first 10 years the business was housed in the school, but when we bought the building we reversed the roles. The school pays rent to the company. I kept the school for profit in order to have the guarantee of an income as a single parent.

You know the School of String Theory wants to build a new location, a charter school, and call it the Joan Myers Brown School of the Arts.

Wait, are they giving your name to a school?

Yes, and they want me to develop a program, so I put Ali [Willingham, artistic director of Danco3] there because he teaches the way I like people to teach – know the trade, break down the movement, demand growth and not brag. Our young people are caught up in the applause and not learning the trade, so when I find those who really want to learn, they have a place for classes and opportunities to perform.

The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t new to you, is it?

I went through this in 1962, 1988 and 1995. Every time white officials throw money away and say, “You all have to help black people,” they help us, but when the money is gone, they are gone. . Have you noticed how every advertisement in Dance Magazine has a black person? It’s as if they were saying, “Look, I have one! “

Have you envisioned the IABD conferences as a base for the black dance community?

You know, the first few lectures, we were a mess, but we were happy to be together. Cleo [Parker Robinson] is from Denver; Jeraldyne [Blunden] was Dayton; Lula [Washington], Los Angeles; and Anne [Williams], from Dallas. And each time, we’ve learned something about our own organizations, about others doing the same, and about how we can help each other. Mikki Shepard brought us together and people said that we had set the stage for DanceUSA. I was then part of the board of directors of DanceUSA. I said, “I have to get out of here and start my own thing because it doesn’t help black people at all.”

The younger members want to ignore the things we have learned and their opinions are valid, but I say you can learn something from experience. The IABD was a gathering to come together and share things, now it’s a full service organization.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Relocation: a black dance center is retiring (mainly)
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