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Is the Dance World Keeping Its 2020 Promises of Change?

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

Created by Azaria Rianne Hogans (kNOwBOX dance Manager of Resources and Archives)

June 15, 2021, Springfield, Missouri, USA

2016 photo of author at the Atlanta National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Around this time last year, many of us were heartbroken, exhausted, and yet hopeful with the onset of the 2020 protest. On May 25th, and in the following days and weeks, we all watched the death of George Floyd on our phones and TV’s. Our hearts were already sore from learning just a few weeks earlier of the death of Ahmaud Arbery and not to mention decades of other stories publicized and not. The 2020 events shook this nation at its core as the injustices against Black people were on the front page for all to see. Between the two pandemics of COVID-19 and injustices against Black people, 2020 had become a year of reckoning.

Here we are a year later –a year after we have vowed to do better, a year after organizations swore in solidarity with Black lives, a year after many pledged in allyship– it is time to reflect on whether or not we are keeping our word and continuing the work. Many organizations, including dance companies, put out statements of support, and those who were truly committed, sought to take action by changing policies, shifting in leadership, gracefully retiring, and vowing to not exclude and rather make room for their members of color and marginalized groups.

As a podcast co-host for kNOwBOX dance’s Dance Behind