On Launching DanceLand and My Background In Dance

Back in the spring I posted about my intention to launch a new dance site based on what I’d learned at All World Dance, one that would begin as a blog but was not ultimately a media play alone. I pulled that post because I realized I just couldn’t sustain such an endeavor after launch at that point and it was simply too embarassing to remain public. The wounds have healed, progress is happening and so here’s the blog post I pulled.

Over the next couple of months, including conversations with supportive individuals involved with startups, I realized there was no way around launching and so began to reorganize my daily life to make room for DanceLand.

In late May I launched DanceLand and have continued low key posting as well as ongoing work on the site and on my processes for daily posting.

I feel it’s going well and am getting ready to ramp things up including more outreach about the site. Recently I started spreading the word more thoroughly through my Flux Research/Hypebot-related contacts and the biggest question I got was about my connection to dance.

So here’s a bit about that. I’ll do something on DanceLand as well, probably should have already, but that will take a different form.

Clyde the Dancer

I got my start in showbiz in preschool choir at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC in the 1960s.

In high school I joined the school’s vocal ensemble which was a pretty serious group. I was focused on singing and studying both piano and voice when I decided to try out for The Music Man at Raleigh Little Theatre.

That was my first real dance experience but it got me more interested in musical theater than in dance per se.

I ended up attending college at UNC-Greensboro as an English major, because I was also a writer by that point, and taking a dance class that first semester in 1977.

I had an incredible teacher (Ron Paul RIP) and a great experience. Became a dance major the next semester to many people’s surprise.

From there I went on to get a BFA in Dance with training in modern and ballet as well as multidisciplinary arts. I was also organizing events, creating full length evenings of my choreography and so forth. The stuff you do when you are serious about the arts and aren’t waiting till graduation to start working.

I went on to a minor ten year career in dance and performance art with a peak right at the end in San Francisco dancing with a men’s dance company called The High Risk Group. HRG was named that in honor of the choreographer’s first friend to die of AIDS-related illnesses.

Two of the men I danced with in that group are dead. Two of the others are living with AIDS and I think the rest are just dealing with the typical challenges of life in the 21st Century.

I left San Francisco in 1992 to attend grad school in hopes of being able to earn a living in the arts without the endless hustle and grind of running a dance company and building an independent career in the arts. I just looked at the lives of the people that were succeeding and I didn’t want that lifestyle.

I went on to earn an MA in Dance Studies at UNC-Greensboro and a PhD in Cultural Studies at The Ohio State University (2000). My focus was on dance research, qualitative methods and cultural studies.

I proceeded to not get a job and discovered over the next 5 years that I needed to look at different paths forward. Though I did occasional dance-related projects after that by 2005 I was earning a Masters in Library Science and launching ProHipHop which was my entry into a whole other world.

For the rest of the decade I was in hip hop trade publishing on the web with a primary audience in New York and LA.

A few years back I sold my hip hop websites and moved to Asheville. I then began work off and on on All World Dance which was my first step in returning to the world of dance.

I learned a lot but I realized at a certain point that, when I was ready to get real about it, I would need to launch a new site.

And so DanceLand.