By Wayles Haynes, Dance Exchange Adjunct Artist
Sometimes you become enamored with your own life and in doing so you forget about all the other lives that intersect, entwine and run parallel to your own. I experienced an awakening to these connections upon my recent trip to Hawaii, where we went to continue the Dance Exchange’s work with the Girl Scouts of Hawaii. This partnership evolved from an ongoing relationship between Liz Lerman and Gail Mukaihata Hannemann, and the intersection of curiosity, conversation and enriching a community that evolved at a conference during last year’s Snowmageddon.
The Girls Scouts seek to engage girls in discovery on relevant contemporary topics from their new curriculum. They have completely revamped their system in recent years and have landed on the innovative edge of education and leadership development. It’s no surprise to me that the Dance Exchange is contributing to the essential research in activating ideas with movement. With the Girl Scouts, we are weaving research, content and movement, in what I have come to believe is the quintessential gift of the Dance Exchange perspective and practice.
I met many delightful and bold artists and Girl Scout volunteers in our work on Oahu. It felt like a homecoming, returning to the Hawaii of my school days (UH graduate 2004) while deepening the work of the Dance Exchange. This was also my first solo gig with Cassie Meador, who was recently named incoming artistic director. I had the unique opportunity to see Cassie bring the work alive with her whole-hearted commitment to the work, personal investment in the participants and the expert use of the Dance Exchange Tools. Sometimes when a life runs parallel to my own, I lose perspective. In Hawaii, I saw Cassie in the fullness of her joy for the work and as the inspirational leader she has become.