Arts Management Program Hosts Dance Leaders for Working in the Arts Panel


Working In The Arts: Redefining Dance Management 

Monday, January 22nd from 6:00-7:30pm EST via Zoom - Link will be sent out to all registrants prior to event start!

George Mason University's Arts Management Program presents "Working in the Arts: Redefining Dance Management" a conversation with Zenetta Drew - Executive Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Julie Nakagawa - Dance Works Chicago's Co-founder and Artistic Director, and Shawn Short - Dancer, Entrepreneur and Founding Director of Ngoma Center for Dance and Dissonance Dance Theatre; moderated by Arts Management's Assistant Director, Setarra Kennedy.

"At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the dance field was heavily impacted due to mandated theater and studio closings, and travel and quarantine restrictions. Despite these setbacks, many organizations approached this compounded dilemma as an opportunity to reinvent their business practices to keep afloat, i.e. the ‘pandemic pivot’. In this panel discussion, we will touch on crisis management, virtual programming, artist, board and audience relations and engagement as well as creativity in arts leadership."- Setarra Kennedy, Moderator. 

Join us for an invigorating discussion around how dance leaders in the field are moving forward in their respective dance business practices after making necessary pivots during the pandemic. 

To register, current AMGT students should check their Mason email for details. All other Mason students and community members interested in watching should contact the Arts Management Program

Meet the panelists!

Profile image of Dance leader Zenetta Drew

Zenetta Drew

Zenetta S. Drew (Dallas, TX) has been Executive Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre since 1987. During her tenure, DallasBlack Dance Theatre has grown from an annual operating budget of $175,000 to over $4.9 million and has also grown from a community-based organization to a fully professional dance company. Annual services have grown from 30 to over 600 including national and international venues and total audience growth has increased from 20,000 to over 150,000. Under her administrative leadership, the company has performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages including the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, andthe Olympics as well as performances for such luminaries as Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and President Nelson Mandela.

Ms. Drew is the first African American female to receive a BBA in Accounting from Texas A&M University-Commerce and she is the first African American female to be named a Distinguished Alumna in 2016. She holds a Management Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Brookhaven College, and is a graduate of the National Arts Strategies Executive Program through Harvard Business School (2016) and University of Michigan, Ross School of Business (2017). She is a graduate of Leadership Arts - 1989, Leadership Dallas - 1991, Leadership Women: Texas – 2010, Leadership Women: International (India) – 2013, and Leadership Women: Encore - 2022. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Ms. Drew received the 2016 Obelisk Award for Outstanding Leadership Arts Alumnus from the Business Council for the Arts, the 2018 Dallas Historical Society Award for Arts Leadership, and the 2021 Dance/USA’s Ernie Award. She has served on more than 40 arts organization boards/advisory boards/committees that include Americans forthe Arts, Board Treasurer for the Cultural Data Project, and Vice-Chair of the Dallas Arts District.

Ms. Drew has served on more than 40 arts organization boards/advisory boards/committees that include Americansfor the Arts, the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Women’s Foundation, Dallas Coalition for the Arts, Board Treasurer for the Cultural Data Project, Vice-Chair of the Dallas Arts District and was a founding board member of Southwest Black Arts Festival. Ms. Drew was also an Adjunct Professor in SMU’s M.A./M.B.A. Arts Management Program teaching Strategic Planning in the Arts.  

Profile image of dance leader Julie Nakagawa

Julie Nakagawa

Julie Nakagawa (Evanston, IL) was a featured dancer with Christopher D’Amboise’s Off Center Ballet, Cleveland Ballet, and Twyla Tharp Dance. In 1994, invited by Lou Conte, Julie joined Lou Conte Dance Studio and rose to theposition of Associate Director. She led Hubbard Street 2 from its inception in 1997 through February 2007 as the Founding Artistic Director, nurturing young dancers and establishing the National Choreographic Competition. Her dance citizenship includes service as a board member, consultant, mentor, peer review panelist, and teacher. Julie is grateful to lead DanceWorks Chicago, a creative incubator fostering unique, next gen movers and makers.

Profile Image of dance leader Shawn Short

Shawn Short

Shawn Short (Washington, D.C.) is the Founding Producing Artistic Director of a purpose-driven DC organization trailblazing a new path for Black dance innovation, Ngoma Center for Dance is driving new development in the DC arts industry. As the parent organization for Dissonance Dance Theatre (founded in 2007, becoming a Ngoma program in 2012), The Ngoma School (its professional dance school founded in 2014), the Black Dance Festival DMV (2019), and Ngoma FilmWorks (2020) Ngoma Center for Dance (a six-figure budget company in less than 10 years) still continues to serve the Greater Washington, D.C. area. 

Hailed by Dance Spirit Magazine (NYC) as, "One of the 11 small-but-mighty dance companies outside of LA and NYC", the award-winning Dissonance Dance Theatre (DDT) is the only nationally-recognized, Black-operated contemporary ballet company between New York City and Atlanta. More specifically, Dissonance Dance Theatre serves as a racially-diverse platform that provides emerging, and minority dance talent in the region the opportunity to launch their professional careers; consciously confronting the equitable complexities of working with, within, and for the African-American dance community. DDT dance artists have transitioned to national and international theatrical tours, notable tv and film work, UniverSoul Circus, Nexflix theatrical productions, and acclaimed companies domestic and abroad (Garth Fagan Dance, Dorfman Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Philadanco, Virginia Ballet Theater, America’s Got Talent, and more). 

The Ngoma School, facilitated at the University of Maryland College Park, is Prince George's County Maryland's only dance school aligned with a nationally-recognized contemporary ballet company - serving 200+ students a year. The Ngoma School (the only DC area representative) adjudicates and provides scholarships to talented young dancers of color at the International Association of Blacks in Dance's conference annually; invited students attend Ngoma's summer programs, with early-career dancers receiving apprenticeships and DDT company - dancer contracts.  

Launched in the Summer of 2020 in partnership with Dog Bark Media  (a DC-based media company), Ngoma Film Works (NFW) is a program that highlights urban and classic society, human relationships, cultural history, and “visual-choreo” art through documentaries and narrative film; featuring award-winning films at local theaters, national and international film festivals such as Cannes World and British Urban film festivals. Created to further Ngoma’s ability to enlighten artists through creative innovation, expand its audience viewership and build new video and visual artist relationships for future collaboration Ngoma Film Works furthers Ngoma’s mission of community integration, inspirational performance.