[Editor’s Note: As part of Dance Exchange’s ongoing partnership with Dallas Faces Race, Race Forward’s 2014 Facing Race Conference, the company has had a number of opportunities to intersect with a diverse and rich community of changemakers in Dallas, TX. Earlier in October, Partnerships and Production Manager Ouida Maedel and Resident Artist/Education Coordinator Matthew Cumbie traveled to Dallas to participate in a training held by Move the Crowd. Read below for Ouida’s reflections on a week of deep listening, learning, and discovering. –AN]
“Apparently, there’s a revolution happening in Dallas,
and I feel so honored, and just plain lucky to even be able to play a small part.”
I was so, genuinely moved by the experience of being involved in Move The Crowd’s Training Intensive for leaders in Dallas’ arts and culture sector this October that this is what I shared in our closing circle of affirmations and offerings of gratitude. A crucial part of Dallas Faces Race, a movement to bring together organizations and individuals to build their capacities to address racial equity and to collaborate to make sustainable change in the city, the training brought together artists across many perceived boundaries – discipline, age, race, gender, geography, career stage – to address how we can move forward together as we amplify the voices of artists working in community and calling for social justice in ways that are sustainable for the artists themselves.
Resident Artist Matthew Cumbie and I had the great privilege of intersecting with this work, facilitating opportunities for participants to synthesize the experience through embodying the deep, reflective work required on a very personal level to manifest actions that move racial equity forward. We both learned so much, and are still processing our time in Dallas. We were so humbled by the trust our friends in Dallas put in us, and by the generosity with which they did so.
I can’t wait to go back to Dallas in November, and continue to work alongside so many wonderful artists who are truly dedicated to lovingly elevating the humanity and liberation of all people. Feeling the synergy between Dance Exchange tools for working in community and the growing movement among arts and culture leaders, advocates, organizers, and activists to leverage artistic practices to catalyze tangible, positive results in the struggle for racial equity was a prescient reminder of why I do the work I do, and what a great privilege it is.
What I forgot to say to these powerful artist-revolutionaries in Dallas was – thank you, thank you, thank you, and I look forward to discovering together all of the ways Dance Exchange can best serve and support your magnificent life’s work.