By Cookie Ruiz, Executive Director
In early June I headed to Houston to convene the meeting of the Board of Trustees of Dance/USA, the annual gathering of the national professional dance industry. With 40 Trustees representing every aspect of the dance ecosystem (choreographers, managers, agents, presenters, design support, artists, service organizations, etc) and coverage coast to coast, the 6-hour Board meeting provided the platform through which this esteemed group of professionals set the course for the next year. This occasion also marked the end of my two-year term as Chair of this organization that has come to mean so much to me, and the start of my eighth year as a member of the national Board of Trustees.
This was quite a different meeting than my very first Dance/USA conference in the spring of 1998, attended as the very green Ballet Austin Executive Director…also in Houston. From that vantage point of less than a year into my tenure, I concluded that Ballet Austin was sorely in need of a quick path to best practices. Through research I discovered the existence of Dance/USA and determined that as its national conference—(through serendipity or fate)—had landed within an easy drive of our front door, I was going. I mentioned my intention to attend the confernence around the building and a friend and colleague determined that he would join me…resident choreographer Stephen Mills. The rest… is history.