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Since 1954, Dance Magazine has celebrated the living legends among us with the Dance Magazine Awards. This year, in light of deep reflections on racial equity inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the selection committee decided to take a close look at exactly who the magazine has honored over the past seven decades. Unsurprisingly, the list is overwhelmingly white. Although it's grown more diverse in recent years, many brilliant artists of color have been left out for far too long.

So for 2020, in order to reckon with and take a step toward repairing that history, the committee chose an outstanding group of all-Black artists. A ceremony to celebrate this year's Dance Magazine Award recipients will take place virtually on Monday, December 7, with performances and presentations for each honoree. For ticket information, visit dancemediafoundation.org. I'm delighted to announce our incredible honorees for 2020:

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Higher Ed
Charles Anderson (center) in his (Re)current Unrest. Photo by Kegan Marling, courtesy of UT Austin

Given the long history of American choreographers who have threaded activism into their work—Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Donald McKayle, Joanna Haigood, Bill T. Jones, Jo Kreiter, to name a few—it's perhaps surprising that collegiate dance has offered so little in the way of training future generations to do the same.

Until now, that is. Within the last three years, two master's programs have cropped up, each the first of its kind: Ohio University's MA in community dance (new this fall), and the University of Texas at Austin's dance and social justice MFA, which emerged from its existing MFA program in 2018. These two programs join the University of San Francisco's undergraduate performing arts and social justice major, with a concentration in dance, which has been around since 2000.

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Dance Teacher Awards

Who knew that a virtual awards ceremony could bring our community together in such a powerful way?

Last night, we celebrated the annual Dance Teacher Awards, held virtually for the first time. Though it was different from what we're used to, this new setting inspired us to get creative in celebrating our six extraordinary honorees. In fact, one of the most enlivening parts of the event was one that could only happen in a Zoom room: Watching as countless tributes, stories and congratulations poured in on the chat throughout the event. Seeing firsthand the impact our awardees have had on so many lives reminded us why we chose to honor them.

If you missed the Awards (or just want to relive them), you're in luck—they are now available to watch on-demand. We rounded up some of the highlights:

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Unsplash

I've had a complicated relationship with dance over the years—from a young girl hell-bent on pursuing a career, to a professional injured on the brink of success, to a grown woman who shunned the art form for years to avoid dealing with physical and emotional pain.

But in the midst of the pandemic, hit with personal loss and grappling with my own battle with illness, I was compelled to face my dance demons head-on. And what I discovered was that dance had been with me all along. And as I turned to others in pain, I realized I wasn't alone in experiencing this dance catharsis.

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