Midday Movement Series was founded in August 2015, but its story began long before…
20th Century Boston:
In the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, Boston was a thriving dance city thanks to institutions such as the Harvard Summer Dance Center, Impulse Dance Studio, Joy of Movement Dance Center (later reopened as The Dance Complex), Green Street Studios, Dance Umbrella, and others, along with prominent companies and choreographers such as Danny Sloan Dance Company, Concert Dance Company of Boston, Impulse Dance Company, and more.
The Reagan administration was determined to dissolve the NEA altogether. Although they did not succeed in that effort, they did significantly cut the NEA budget (Source 1), and pushed for a narrowing of “standards of professional accomplishment” that would mean “significant withdrawal from programs of popularization and mass appeal, and a renewed emphasis on programs encouraging high art and professional scholarship.” Although the NEA Budget returned its 1981 appropriation by 1984, it did not keep up with inflation (Source 2). The new arts landscape left artists more censured, and more pressured toward “high art and scholarship,” and with fewer financial resources.
Republicans gain control of Congress and begin a campaign against “national cultural and educational activities,” along with a renewed commitment to eliminate the NEA completely (Source 2). Fortunately they did not succeed, although the decade sees a bitter battle over art, funding, and censorship (Source 3).
Marissa Molinar joins Boston’s professional dance community as a late-comer to modern/contemporary dance technique. She joined Boston Dance Alliance as the Membership Coordinator under the direction of Ruth Birnberg from 2010-2015.
Master teachers in Boston (in jazz, modern, and other styles) begin decreasing their public class offerings, or ending their classes entirely - moving to private institutions (universities, performing art schools, etc), moving away, or retiring. Such teachers included Adrienne Hawkins, Danny McCusker, Marcus Schulkind, Cheri Opperman, Diane Arvanites and Tommy Neblett, Jody Weber, Nicole Pierce, and more. New teachers attempt to take over these vacant time slots but are unable to establish their classes due to inexperience and cost of space rental.
Marissa sees this as an unsustainable environment. She approaches three new teachers --Michael Figueroa, Callie Chapman, and Irene Hsi-- about coming together to create a low-cost dance series to hone their teaching skills and build a following. Each teacher agrees. Fellow dancer Jennifer Roberts coins the name “Midday Movement Series” for the project.
MIDDAY classes officially launch! We offer our first season of classes at Green Street Studios in Central Square, Cambridge. Our Inaugural Teachers offer their weekly ongoing classes through 2017 (Irene) and 2018 (Michael and Callie).
MIDDAY moves to... Dance Complex in Central Sq. Cambridge.
“MIDDAY Shuffle” is founded as a rotating roster of teachers offering $5 classes.
The “MIDDAY Shuffle Cohort” is formed, featuring a dedicated group of teachers rotating between teaching and taking each other’s open classes. The Cohort becomes the core of MIDDAY Shuffle, although guest teachers also occasionally lead class.
We move to José Mateo Ballet Theatre.
The COVID-19 pandemic and "racial reckoning" sharpen our focus on decentering whiteness in contemporary dance spaces, including classes, programs, productions, and administration.
Our Decentering Whiteness in Contemporary Dance Pedagogy workshops are piloted.
MIDDAY moves to The Foundry in Cambridge. We also pilot our BIPOC Professional Dancer Mentorship Program, supporting four early-career contemporary dancers of color.
We are increasingly becoming an arts service organization supporting the grassroots professional dance community across needs and at many levels, including: training, professional development, advocacy, community-building, and networking.
We are particularly invested in providing “steppingstone” style learning experiences that allow artists to gradually develop and acquire the holistic skills and resources they need to not only succeed, but to empower them in their own self determination and ability to meaningfully reshape and redefine the arts sector and world around them.