On Friday, August 7, 2020, the Board of Directors of Danceworks, Inc. announced that Deborah Farris has advised that she is stepping down as the Chief Executive Office of Danceworks. “After 18 years with Danceworks, and successfully navigating the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the timing felt right for me to take on a new challenge,” Farris said.
Anthony Jones, speaking on behalf of the Board, said “We want to thank Debbie for her years of wonderful, passionate leadership of Danceworks. The organization is in a strong financial position and has an enthusiastic and talented staff, many of whom have been mentored by her.”
The Board is immediately commencing its search for a successor and believes that there will be significant interest in the position. Farris will continue as a consultant to the Board during the transition to new leadership.
Farris joined Danceworks in 2002 as its first Executive Director. During her tenure, Danceworks’ budget grew from $300K to $1.4 million. Danceworks’ signature Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap program founded with Mario Costantini is now in its 15th year and has served more than 30,000 4th, 5th and 6th grade Milwaukee city students using ballroom and tap dancing to teach the importance of teamwork, poise, courtesy and the fun of dancing. During her time at Danceworks, Farris was named a Woman of Influence for Nonprofit Leadership by the Milwaukee Business Journal and the organization received numerous awards from the United Performing Arts Fund, including Management Excellence.