Democratic Dance | Arts Education | Spatial Justice

by Heidi Duckler Dance

For Heidi Duckler Dance, the challenges presented in the past year have only reaffirmed our commitment to dance and community. When our live performances and classes got canceled in March, our main priority was to continue employing our artists and create opportunities for them to practice their craft. We also made sure that all our students, from elementary school kids to veterans, had an outlet for healing and expression. We’ve been working harder than ever not only to survive but to collectively thrive during these difficult times. 

We are a company of resilience and innovation. In the past 7 months alone we have, 

  • Brought virtual dance classes to 5 schools and more than 300 students 
  • Created 13 opportunities for professional covid-safe performances, employing more than 40 artists 
  • Made and virtually screened 5 films, which have since been selected for 10 national and international film festivals 
  • Used AR technology to provide a new way for audiences to experience art + performance 
  • Curated and hosted a 3-part virtual salon series in collaboration with local Native American communities 
  • Celebrated 35 years of site-specific democratic dance through 10 days of live events 
  • Launched a paid fellowship program for foster youth 

A message from HDD’s Founder/Artistic Director Heidi Duckler: 

Inclusivity, consciousness, vulnerability and connectivity are all part of my daily practice as I look at new paths of communication and the sharing of information between the body, space and the community we inhabit. I find this practice to be valuable especially when we are confronted with limitations or conditions we never suspected could be so curtailed.

The world today is experiencing a spatial awakening. This is more than marking us six feet apart. The political climate and the raging fires have given our people a deep desire to want to breathe.. because they can’t.

For the past thirty - five years I have led a company that values civic engagement and recognizes emotional sincerity. My choreography and movement is revealed in the landscape and community response in which it is created and it both triggers memory and embodies a current condition.

My site-specific, place-based practice employs a methodology that encourages understanding about how dance, born from our experience, can be a tool for expanded awareness. I invite my fellow humans to reconsider the space we live in, the space we take up, and communicate personal experience to others, to speak up, to inspire, to incorporate hard truths into the vulnerable body and pursue a search for empathetic connectivity.

Although we have a long road ahead, I am filled with hope. Please consider giving this year so that our work can continue! 


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