Getting to know the new faces at Dance Exchange
Interview with Susan Goode, Dance Exchange’s new Business Manager
K: How did you learn about the Dance Exchange and did you have any connection or association to the organization before joining?
S: When I went back to college, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange came to Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts to do a lecture and workshop around the work Ferocious Beauty: Genome. I was very impressed. Over the years I’d check out what as going on at the Dance Exchange and when I was job seeking this spring, I checked the website and saw the business manager position available.
K: What drew you to the organization?
S: Having a dance background myself, I wanted to use my skills more specifically to support a dance organization. I personally have lots of questions about what it means to be a dancer and what it means to dance and I like that the Dance Exchange asks similar questions. It seemed like a good fit with my personality and dance background. The Dance Exchange’s mission appealed to me more than traditional dance organizations.
K: What is your background? What things have you studied?
S: I studied dance at Mt. Holyoke along with a minor in Memory as explored through Psychology and Anthropology classes. I was also able to learn a lot about Authentic Movement– an expressive improvisational movement practice that allows a group of participants a type of free association of the body. I was interested less in dance performance and more about movement as a tool to explore other aspects of life. I went back to complete my college degree after taking almost a 12 year break from school. Being an older student in college and in dance, just showing up was a big deal being in a place where I could make that choice and daily recommitment to pursue my passion. I was also aware of my age and being older in a school environment was challenging at times. I did a lot of questioning during this time in my life.
K: Was there one “A ha!” moment for you in school?
S: The first time that I took Authentic Movement workshop I had some cool experiences of connecting with people through movement. That opened up a lot of things for me and renewed some deeply felt desires. It also reminded me that there is a lot out there and other ways to experience dance not just through performing. Authentic movement is another way of processing the world around me with a group of people. Having a structure that involves movement was helpful for me to be in a situation and process what was going on around me. Also I enjoy that Authentic Movement is process oriented and deals with indirect outcomes.
K: Tell me more about your relationship to dance.
S: I grew up on a farm in a rural area and was interested in dance as a young girl but there were not many opportunities for me in South Eastern Ohio. After high school I took a dance course and that really solidified things for me. I enjoyed dancing and tried to continue taking dance classes even though I did not complete my college degree at that time. I always felt like I was playing catch up—I really enjoyed dance, but I didn’t know how to connect more to it and have dance be a part of my life. I took a number of jobs that were not creative and were not fulfilling. There was about a 12-year gap before I decided to complete my college degree and study dance at Mt. Holyoke. A number of things occurred in my life to pave the way towards that journey and it just felt like the right time. It was a big decision for me though to disrupt my life go back to school.
K: What’s your story? If you could tell me about yourself in 30seconds, what would you tell me?
S: Since I am such a process-oriented person, this question is hard for me to answer. I will say “we should have coffee so I can sit down and tell you mine and hear about yours.”
K: What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
S: I enjoy baking, mostly sweet things. I find baking to be more structured with specific rules and guidelines to follow. Baking also has amazing and beautiful rewards that are very tasty and satisfying! I like to bake for other people so I can share those beautiful things with others. I am also an “on again off again runner” and I enjoy being outside. My farm upbringing has definitely stuck with me. I enjoy reading, mostly non-fiction and am currently reading Letters to Malcolm by C.S. Lewis. Along with reading, I enjoy thinking about things and talking about things… mulling over possibilities, I see myself as a secret philosopher. I am somewhat of an introvert, so I definitely take a long time to process thoughts.
K: How do you hope to grow and or be challenged in your new role as business manager here at the DX?
S: I am excited to be here and see how ideas come to fruition and to witness that process. I’m also thrilled to be able to do different things and combine administrative aspects with space care management. Also, being in a new environment is refreshing. I am also excited by the opportunity to practice skills that I already possess and learn new ones. I am glad I held out getting to work for a really cool and creative organization and even if I am not personally practicing the art form, I am happy to be a support for others who are creative.
K: I see a very cool and beautiful tattoo on your arm of the word “hope,” what does it symbolize to you?
S: It’s a good reminder of what my hope is in and that it is ever present. I like having this tattoo because it has also led to a number of unique conversations and interactions because of it.
Interviewed by Keira Hart-Mendoza