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Danceworks Blog

Moving Milwaukee Forward with Joy, Health and an Abundance of Creativity—Celebrating 25 Years

Posted on by 10Web Support


Danceworks is all about movement (obviously) but when you consider we are also about enhancing joy, health and creativity, I think you can go as far as to say Danceworks is a movement and we’re revving our engines to keep Milwaukee moving forward!


I wasn’t surprised to read recently that according to nonprofit guru Joan Garry, there’s a growing crisis in the nonprofit sector as baby boomer executive directors (hint hint) are retiring. Low overhead, limited budgets for HR and professional development can make succession planning tough. Unless you’re Danceworks.


I don’t have plans to retire (if you worked at Danceworks, would you?) but I want to make sure Danceworks is in a good place when I do. So what do you do?


You have to be quick on your feet around here (no pun intended). Things are always changing – beyond our walls, as well as within them so you need to take a good look around. Start conversations. Be honest about your resources and whereabouts and keep building your dream, because dreams are meant to happen.


When the board suggested I hire a managing director to help with the day to day to free up some of my time for bigger picture focus, I wasn’t sure where the resources for it would come from. I started having conversations with my team and discovered the treasures were within. Timing was right and within weeks, Kim Johnson stepped into a new role as managing director and I was bumped up from ED (easily distracted) to CEO.


This wouldn’t have been possible of course without the passionate, committed people that make up the Danceworks team and are always willing to step up and out when duty calls. My team makes things happen. We have always done the best we can with what we have, where we are, and it’s worked so far. (Thanks for the advice, Mr. Roosevelt.)


Fiscal year-end is always a fun time for nonprofits. What comes in must go out. It’s a delicate balance. Sometimes a little too much goes out and sometimes not enough comes in. That’s when you hunker down, consolidate where possible, and look at your opportunities. Like this for example: we had to cancel a performance this past season because of the snow. To make up for the lost revenue, our newly appointed managing director came up with the idea of a Danceworks Benefit Concert! It was called – what else? – Danceworkers.



It really does take a village and I’m so glad to be part of one so full of joy-filled and generous individuals. Thank you, Kim, dancers and choreographers, and all who contributed time and talent, support and presence at this remarkable evening of dance (which was so fun and successful, it might become an annual event…)

Here’s to the next 25 years of moving Milwaukee forward with joy, health and an abundance of creativity!

Kim Johnson (Center) with faculty and members of Danceworks Youth Performance Company performing at Newaukee.



About Our Blog

Welcome to the Danceworks blog, where we're hoping to share a little bit more about the heart and soul behind Danceworks… what made us join the dance and keeps us dancing, what keeps us inspired, and where we can share some of the stories worth telling.