During the time of COVID-19, Bonnie Oda Homsey, Founder of Los Angeles Dance Foundation (LADF) has partnered with Gina Gibney of New York City’s Gibney to create a free one-hour Zoom event scheduled for June 2, 2020 at 12 noon EST.  An Action Plan for the Covid-19 Setting will replace Homsey’s in-person workshop called  Jumpstart Your Career that was to take place at Gibney Dance Studios. I can think of no one better qualified to lead such a workshop as Homsey has reinvented herself several times since leaving New York.

Bonnie Oda Homsey - Photo by Jan Gordon

Bonnie Oda Homsey – Photo by Jan Gordon

After an illustrious career with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Homsey became the artistic director of the Los Angeles based American Repertory Dance Company which produced reconstructions of masterworks performed by well-known artists. She is a producer, educator, curator, author, lecturer, arts advocate, funder, panelist, and the Chair of Dance for The Princess Grace Foundation-USA awarding emerging talent in Dance, Film, and Theater.

Homsey founded LADF in 1978 which, since 2010, has expanded its mission to focus on supporting the expanding and diverse community of Dance in Los Angeles, and includes the Dance Treasures Project that helps to promote and cultivate the knowledge of California based dance professionals.

Following spinal fusion surgery ten years ago Homsey again met the challenge to reinvent herself. “Learning to walk took two months and was a highly emotionally and confidence-busting exercise.” Homsey wrote. It did not take long for her to get back to giving back to and being supportive of the art form she loved.

In 2010, Homsey presented Surviving a Professional Career presented as a seminar to dance students at various colleges and universities – among them The Juilliard School, Marymount Manhattan, Washington University, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, and CSU Long Beach.  She now teaches professional development, management, and entrepreneurial courses at California Institute for the Arts to MFA and undergraduate dance students, and a Dance Leadership course at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

Homsey was introduced to Gina Gibney by Jody Arnhold, a leader in dance education and founder of the 92nd Street Y’s Dance Education Laboratory (DEL). Homsey was leading a NYC Department of Education Workshop for dance teachers K-12 at Gibney’s newly opened space at 280 Broadway in New York City.  Arnhold had been observing the workshop and thought that the two should meet. Later, In 2018, Bonnie invited Gibney to serve on the Princess Grace Foundation Dance Panel and because the two were working to serve and support Dance, they decided that they could more by combining forces. They developed a workshop titled Jump Start Your Career that tracks Bonnie’s Make Your Mark concepts that was developed from her seminar, and the first set of workshops took place at Gibney in June 2019.

COVID-19 forced them to cancel the planned in-person Jump Start Your Career workshop, but once again Homsey refused to give up. She re-organized the workshop and created a “free Zoom event open to dancers, choreographers, educators, and dance administrators around the world”.

Gina Gibney - Photo by Stephanie Diani

Gina Gibney – Photo by Stephanie Diani

Gina Gibney is the Founder, CEO and Artistic Director of Gibney which offers performances, classes, and workshops in choreography, film, and community outreach. She is a well-established choreographer who was recently named to the Honorary Circle of Dance/NYC. Gibney was recently featured in a New York Times article by Gia Kourlas which announced ​that Gibney Company, formerly Gibney Dance Company, is scheduled to make its official debut as a repertory company in November 2021.

An Action Plan for the Covid-19 Setting is the free Zoom session presented on June 2, 2020 from 12noon to 1:00 pm EST. Homsey listed the talking points as the following:

– “C, S, I” concept

– Employment Tool Box through the lens of need/impact/benefit

– Build a flexible and nimble strategic plan and infrastructure

– Financial best practices

In response to my question of who made up the intended audience for An Action Plan for the Covid-19 Setting, Homsey wrote the back:

“How can creative individuals utilize their innovative nature to navigate the uncertainty of a new landscape? How can any dance professional harness their innate skills and talents to thrive within the unknown?

At its core, the workshop is for any dance professional struggling to find their way. Amidst the chaos that COVID-19 is leaving in its wake, Bonnie’s workshop introduces participants to her Make Your Mark concepts that anchor the action plan and adaptable career strategies.  Freelancers, fiscally sponsored artists, and directors of nonprofits alike can benefit from Bonnie’s years of experience.”

Gibney and Homsey are considering a second Zoom session aimed to compliment and expand upon the first workshop, with a focus on “the state of the field perspectives for a broader audience.” As they wrote in a response to my questions, “Stay tuned!”

To sign up for the FREE Zoom workshop session An Action Plan for the Covid-19 Setting, click here.

To learn more about Los Angeles Dance Foundation, click here.

To learn more about the Princess Grace Foundation USA, click here.

Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton for LADC, May 7, 2020.

Featured image: Gibney – Photo by Scott Shaw