We are so close to reaching our goal for #GivingDanceDay! You can support our #GivingTuesday campaign by donating, sharing with your family and friends, and/or voting for us on #MyGivingStory!
Read about the impact our organization has made for these individuals, vote for both stories, and help us win!
Sylvia Drew Ivie on HDD
Over the course of my professional career, and now in my role as Special Assistant to the President at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Willowbrook, CA, I have worked to advance the youth and families in our communities through health, wellness and education. I believe that the arts has a central role to play in the vitality and wellbeing of our neighborhoods. The high-quality arts and cultural projects that HDD has developed over the past 30 years show the power of the arts to truly transform our vision of the world and of ourselves.
Through her innovative practice of partnering with communities through place-based work, HDD’s Artistic Director, Heidi Duckler, has demonstrated that dance is utterly serious as an art form that should belong to us all, through her choice of everyday locations for her performances. These choices are a powerful tool for social commentary. Does art belong in laundromats, in church pews, on medical school lawns? Duckler says, “Yes, it does. Art belongs to all of us, wherever we live, work and play.” Under Duckler’s extraordinary leadership, the company has not just survived, but has chosen to thrive by continuing to be responsive to its communities. Duckler embodies the vision for arts and culture in Los Angeles, that there is no separation between art and civic life; that in fact, they are completely and totally integrated.
Two of the company’s projects exemplify their commitment to telling the important stories of our state’s most vulnerable communities. HDD received a Cal Humanities grant to conduct a free residency with the female inmates at the California Institution for Women in Chino, CA, in collaboration with Just Detention International. HDD also received the distinction of becoming the first LA dance company to secure a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant to develop a free, community-based artist residency focused on health and wellness on the Martin Luther King Jr Hospital Campus in Willowbrook, titled MOVE WELL @ MLK. Projects like these embody HDD’s mission to engage with underrepresented groups and tell the important California stories that are often not heard.
I am delighted to be a community partner and engage our University students in HDD’s exciting endeavors. Duckler asked us, “May we dance where you work? May we give life to the story of your beloved Watts/Willowbrook community?” And we said, with great pleasure, “Oh yes, yes you can.”
St. Mary’s Student Spirit Denton on HDD
Click the link above to watch a video of Spirit Denton: one of our high school student participants from St Mary’s Academy in Inglewood, California. At the end of our year long residency program at St.Mary’s Academy, students learn how to compose their own choreographic dance study, perform original dance studies, connect their personal experiences and historical, societal, and cultural contexts to dance, and reflect and analyze dance in its many forms. This video was recorded in early November of 2019 as our third year at St. Mary’s Academy is currently in session! Sophomore Spirit Denton speaks on how she has been impacted by Heidi Duckler Dance!