Looking Ahead

Here is an update of where we are today: August 2023

Looking Ahead in 2023

In 2023, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company (LACDC) took a planned pause from outward-facing activities and producing in order to take the necessary time to consider our deeper purpose as an organization. This allowed us the space to chart the best ways in which we serve our audiences, students, contributing artists, and community at large.

Announcement of New Mission and Value Statements!

As we bring our hiatus activities to an end, we are excited to officially announce our new mission and values statements that will guide us in the next steps of this journey. These statements are a result of reflecting on the past, and recognizing how we can best serve as an organization moving forward.

L.A. Contemporary Dance is a performance company dedicated to showcasing the artistry of L.A. in live and digital experiences. We curate creative environments that harness the power of the collective, promote a sense of belonging, and champion exploration and learning without judgment. In our programming, we share a restlessness of soul and desire for connection with our collaborators and community.

We value…

  • The humanity and lived experiences of those with whom we share space
  • The unique strength of a collective vision and collaborative spirit
  • Anti-racist practices to address ongoing racism experienced in the arts and society at large
  • Environments that encourage learning without judgment; Discovery over mastery
  • People who build positive environments and provide others with a sense of belonging
  • Strong relationships, foundations, and structures that support creative endeavors
  • Producing and creating opportunities for artists to share their voices and connecting people through our craft
  • Artistic work as a service, not just a product
  • The effort necessary to grow and improve, and embrace change as a part of our process
  • Questions, discussions, and constructive dialogues that build trust, and lead to greater understanding and compassion for each other
  • Respect for all forms of expression and art-making in dance and beyond

We are still in a mode of questioning, considering, learning, and growing, but our roots feel solid and our vision for the future feels evolutionary. We deeply appreciate and honor those that have contributed to our 18 year history and the incredible things created, learned, and developed during that time. This history and strong foundation helps us recognize the gaps in our thinking and respond to the current state of society to better understand how to serve Los Angeles as an arts organization.

When Artistic Director Jamila Glass spoke to the students and audience of the Summer Intensive showcase this year, the following statement resonated broadly: “At LACDC, we value discovery over mastery.” We are eager to discover new ways to move and be moved, to experience dance in its full breadth and to welcome people to our work with an emphasis on art as a public service not a product.

As an organization, we will continue to question:

  • How do we invite you in at all stages of a process to dialogue, learn, and impact the outcomes?
  • How do we be of service to your creative livelihood and emotional health?
  • How do we nurture the voices and expressions of artists, students, and audiences to be vibrant and bold, and celebrate our unique stories?
  • How do we embrace the necessity and beauty of mistakes, vulnerabilities, and unknowing in order to discover something new?

At the end of August, the Board and Leadership will meet to culminate our scheduled hiatus activities, synthesizing our findings from the past six months of meetings and deliberations. Many of the areas of focus from our hiatus have already resulted in significant shifts and actions including the rewriting of our mission, drafted value statements and tenets, and wage adjustments across the organization. We now look forward to the opportunity to see how we can bring our new mission and values to life with all of you.

Jamila and Executive Director Napoleon Gladney are making final plans and preparations for launching our 2023 season beginning in October 2023. As a Board, we look forward to supporting the season launch and hosting events to provide opportunities for you to reconnect and engage with the organization.

We will also be participating in our first series of Anti-Racist Dramaturgy workshops with Practice Progress. The entire organization will be involved, and a public workshop via zoom will also be offered for anyone interested in taking part with us. More information will be coming soon about the workshop - so stay tuned!

Thank you for your grace, support, and for allowing us the time to understand our purpose on new levels as an organization. We look forward to reconnecting with all of you soon!

With appreciation,

LACDC Board of Directors

Kate Hutter Mason, President
Michelle Jolly, Vice President
Casey Cowan Gale, Treasurer
Elisa Smith, Secretary
Ramon Valdez, Board Member
Clifton Smith, Board Member
Meet the people who have been working together during this hiatus: LACDC Board Members + Artistic Leadership - Jamila Glass & Napoleon Gladney

Here is an update of where we are today: May 2023

We appreciate everyone's patience as we continue our work during our hiatus. It has been extremely valuable and important time to spend on this re-centering and discovery process as an organization.

At this point in time, we have a new draft mission for the company and detailed tenets on how we see our values activated in our services and programming. The mission and tenets will be put to vote at our upcoming quarterly Board Meeting in May, and will be published in June. Based on these tenets and the focus of our mission, we are redrafting role descriptions and expectations to best serve our mission and be shared by the people who work with us.

We are also modeling wage increases for all roles in the organization based on market data, impact of inflation / rising cost of travel and housing in L.A., and best practices in our field. We recognize that this shift is necessary, and will initially be actualized by programming less in the coming year while making wage increases until we can build the financial capability and solvency to support these increases along with a fully programmed season. The number one goal though is to make sure the contributions of our artists, staff, and leadership can be reflected in their pay, while maintaining affordable access points to our programs and services. This will require donations, foundations, and grant funding to subsidize and support this work, and understandably takes time to build up our capacity. Wage increases will be voted upon as well in the upcoming Board meeting, and will be part of our published materials in June.

We continue to discuss company culture and are partnering with consultants to provide important tools and techniques to dialogue and build trust in our group in order to best serve others and curate healthy creative environments. Part of the sessions we will engage in as a company will be Anti-racist learnings and affinity groups facilitated by Kai Hazelwood and Sarah Ashkin of Practice Progress. Definitely check out their work as they have many offerings for organizations and individuals to engage in. We are also considering how our programming choices will be impacted by our revised mission and creating new opportunities and inroads to our work as an organization both in live and digital spaces.

Certainly a lot has been revealed through our conversations, and the greatest "aha" throughout is how aligned our values are as a group, and the dedication we all have to making these values ring true throughout all we do and offer in service of the community. Resonant themes during this time have been: evolution, exploration, a sense of belonging, the power of the collective, and showcasing the artistry of L.A.

We greatly look forward to the next steps in this process and continuing to share with you so you can continue on this journey with us. We also cannot wait to engage with all our summer students, fellows, scholars, and teachers for our Summer Intensive programming in July. This will be an amazing way to step back into our programming and embody all that we have been discussing over the past 6 months.

Thank you for everyone's support and continued interest!

More to come soon :)

Take care and have a wonderful start to May,

Kate Hutter Mason
LACDC Board President and Co-Founder

Original Hiatus Announcement: January 2023

In 2023, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company (LACDC) is taking a planned pause from outward-facing activities and producing in order to take the necessary time to consider our deeper purpose as an organization. This will allow us the space to chart the best ways in which we serve our audiences, students, contributing artists, and community at large. Looking back at our more recent history, LACDC continued to work through the pandemic – filming and teaching online to provide creative, cathartic content to our engaged community, as much as possible, until it was safe to return to experiences in person again.

We also ushered in a new era of leadership with the transition of the Artistic Directorship from Genevieve Carson (2015-2020) to Jamila Glass in 2021. We kept moving and sought to create consistently to provide our artists with opportunities to work, while providing opportunities for our community to connect. But constantly moving does not always mean progress. It is important that we also take the time to reflect, learn, improve, and listen to what people need from our services and offerings as an organization.

In the first quarter of 2023, the Board of Directors, Artistic Director, and Executive Director will be meeting to re-evaluate the mission of L.A. Contemporary Dance, our values, and how this can be best embodied and exemplified in our productions, services, education programs, and culture as an organization. This may mean making changes to the current mission in reflection of how we can best serve our constituents by clarifying our values and making shifts in programming to best fulfill our purpose as an organization. We feel that questioning things, even if those things that seem to be good or working, is a healthy process to find gaps in our capabilities – as well as strengthen our resolve of why we exist and what we need to do to best serve.

Additionally, we will be drafting a three-year plan with goals and milestones along our path of progress to our 20th anniversary in 2025. We look forward to sharing this plan broadly and celebrating our achievements with our community. We cannot wait to work together to continue supporting artists in L.A. to create amazing movement-based experiences for all. Though we will be taking a pause in producing this Spring, please know that the work continues in a multitude of ways to make sure we are informed, responsive to the needs of our community, and have the vision and capability to serve as L.A.'s repertory dance company.

We thank you for your understanding and continued support, and we look forward to seeing you back in the studio, theater, online, etc. in May 2023. Also, we will have registrations for our annual Summer Intensive and Choreography Lab starting in March, so be on the lookout for announcements of those programs this year!

With love and respect,

Kate Hutter Mason
LACDC Board President and Co-Founder