About ZiRu Dance
ZiRu Dance is a Redwood City-based, 85% BIPOC nonprofit dance company that promotes cross-cultural collaborations and the creation of innovative dance work that amplify BIPOC voices. ZiRu’s intentional and inclusive actions, focused artmaking, and active role in our community enable our small but mighty organization to achieve broad impact as we seek, through dance, to uplift our BIPOC communities. The Bay Area is extraordinarily diverse and supports an ecosystem of multiculturalism. However, stark economic disparities from community to community constrain any sense of stability or upward mobility within these cultural pluralities. As an arts organization led by an Asian American Pacific Islander with executive level project administrators and consultants, ZiRu addresses systemic inequities. The staff, artists and board are made up of 85%+ BIPOC representation, allowing ZiRu to collectively bring arts administration, grant review and grantmaking to mirror our larger social structure. Decisions we make about hiring, producing content, marketing, collaborating artists, and subject matter magnify the social structure that we have created at ZiRu.
Our programs are presented in collaboration with community partners in Silicon Valley that share this commitment. Each partner offers a different access point—education, social work, mental health, homeless advocacy, community services—to our programming, and each provides particular organizational and networking capabilities for advancing ZiRu’s priority of using dance as a catalyst for social change. Our 2022-2023 season prioritizes this relational organizing in engaging BIPOC communities, embedding our artistic initiatives within our community’s history and their desire for change, and tackling social/racial justice issues through art, as follows:
The Silicon Valley Dance Festival (SVDF), inaugurated in 2016 and hosted annually at Menlo Atherton Performing Arts Center to showcase world class contemporary dance that is not seen elsewhere on the Peninsula. The 2022 Festival will celebrate our “Return to the Stage” and the long-awaited return a our live, local BIPOC audience, many of whom sought us out as the pandemic laid bare the xenophobia and racism that is deeply rooted in American social structures.
Pave The Way, a new initiative offering dance/movement classes for Silicon Valley BIPOC youth that specifically aims to address the social isolation, mental health issues, xenophobia, and racism experienced by children and youth in our community. This program is an outgrowth from our pandemic-era Project Dance-O.F.F. (Dance Online-Free-For-Fall) that provided live, virtual dance classes for both adults and youth.
The creation and premiere of new dance works. This season ZiRu will premiere two new works that magnify our local BIPOC community. The first, “Vantage,” will use dance, cultural identity, storytelling, and racial justice advocacy to explore how we engage with live art in a post-COVID, multiracial community. This project focuses on four distinct cultural viewpoints: Chinese American, African American, Mixed Race, and Latinx; each creative component will incorporate panel discussions with BIPOC community partners. The second new work, “Pathways to Recovery” is being created in partnership with the Latinx-focused OneLife Counseling Center in San Carlos, and addresses PTSD and pathways to healing. This project centers community involvement at OneLife, as well as at Redwood City Title 1 schools with large Central American immigrant populations. Entry points for engagement with the project include community-embedded art practices, e.g., movement therapy classes, works-in-progress showings, community dance classes, and the opportunity for our BIPOC community to see aspects of their lived experience presented on stage.