June 18, 2020
Dear Joy of Motion Community,
Already in 2020, the pandemic temporarily shuttered our doors, and the murders of George Floyd and other Black Lives that deeply mattered shattered our hearts. But it is our purpose to find meaning in the bad and fashion a response that is meaningful.
We want to begin by letting you know that our efforts to secure a Small Business Administration loan were successful. This has allowed us to extend offers of employment to all of our faculty and staff that were laid off in April. Those educators and administrators will have the opportunity to help re-shape Joy of Motion and determine what re-opening will look like.
We are very pleased to announce that two members of our leadership team, Krystal Odom and Elizabeth Watson, are stepping in to lead Joy of Motion as Interim Co-Executive Directors. They replace Mary Chase, who has stepped down from the ED position.
We begin again in what seems like an altered world, but one that promises change that we wholeheartedly embrace and are committed to making real and lasting. Joy of Motion is committed to changing for the better, and we are in the process of listening to and learning from our colleagues and stakeholders, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, to understand where we have fallen short and where we need to improve. We are forming committees of staff, faculty, board, dancers, and other community members that will be charged with making recommendations regarding institutional policies, strategic direction, programming, diversifying our organizational leadership and board, and other critical aspects of the organization as we rebuild.
Joy of Motion has been around for 44 years and we plan to do everything in our power to be here for the next 44! Thank you for your loyalty and thank you for hanging in there with us during these anxious and uncertain times.
Our mission remains the same — “Joy of Motion cultivates a diverse community of dance students, educators, artists, and audiences in the DC metropolitan area by providing exceptional dance education and performances that open doors for learners of all ages and abilities” — but with a new appreciation for the hard work necessary to demonstrate the depth of our commitment to inclusion, equity, social justice and equality in leadership so that Joy of Motion can truly live up to its founding principle: Dance is for Everyone.
Krystal and Elizabeth are the right ones to lead us in this moment, but the input of our faculty and our community will also determine what Joy of Motion is meant to become. Building it together we know it will be artful, beautiful and will bring the joy of dance to every heart in our community.
Krystal Odom has been with Joy of Motion for 13 years as a teacher, director of several programs, and most recently Director of Youth Programs. As Director of Youth Programs, she has scheduled over 100 classes a week and supervised over 35 teachers. Over the past several years, Krystal has been the Director of Step Ahead, a summer program that trains DC youth under the Summer Youth Employment program.
From Krystal: Together with Elizabeth, I plan to help foster a new Joy of Motion that centers Black and brown voices as well as highlighting the uniqueness and brilliance of our faculty. All of this cannot be done without input from our faculty, staff, and community members.
Elizabeth has been a performing artist and educator for over 10 years. Her professional experience has focused on building and assisting small businesses and start-ups as well as developing partnerships with outside organizations and members of the community. Elizabeth is heavily involved in the DC dance community and serves on numerous boards and dances for several local artists.
From Elizabeth: I’m honored to partner with Krystal Odom to gain a better understanding of the needs of our community, faculty, students, and the organization at large. With Krystal’s wealth of knowledge and over a decade of experience, and my experience in business development, I know that we can continue to position Joy of Motion as the institutional leader that it is and make it a more equitable and diverse home to our students, staff, and stakeholders.
JOMDC is fortunate to have both of these experienced, respected professionals at the helm. Their skill, passion and leadership will be vital to the work of creating a new and better Joy of Motion.
All the best,
The Joy of Motion Board of Directors