DANIELLE IWATA PURSUING A CAREER IN DANCE
ADAMDRIVER “ARTS FOR THE ARMED FORCES”
I am Danielle Iwata (she/her). I am a Japa- nese/Filipina-American arts administrator and practitioner. I am the Special Projects Manager at LaPlaca Cohen, working closely alongside the Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to that, I was the Arts and Business Program Coordinator at Americans for the Arts and the Development Coordinator at Jacob’s Pil- low Dance, where I had the opportunity to perform an excerpt of José Limón’s A Choreo- graphic Offering on the Inside/Out stage. A strong influence in my approach to the arts and equity has been my tenure with Dance/ NYC’s Junior Committee—a professional development and networking program for emerging leaders that values conversation and community and recognizes that "building a net that works" (People’s Institute for Sur- vival and Beyond) is essential to dismantling systems of oppression in the dance field and beyond. I was honored to serve as Co-Chair for the 2019-2020 term. I am also a graphic notetaker and have been commissioned by organizations like Monument Lab and Artists Thrive to create visual representations of key- note presentations, panels, and more. I hold a BA in History from Colgate University and unaccreditedly continue my education through organizing AAPI grassroots efforts, facilitating spaces for visioning and healing, and holding deep conversations with friends and colleagues.
You might know of Adam Driver as Adam Sackler in the HBO comedy-drama series Girls , or seen him in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, The Last Jedi, or films like Lincoln or Hungry Hearts . But did you know that before he went to Juilliard to begin his acting ca- reer, he joined the United States Marine Corp? With his wife, Joanne Tucker, in 2006 he co-found- ed a non-profit called Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF) located in Brooklyn, New York. It’s an or- ganization that, as they state on their website, “brings high-quality arts programming to active duty service members, veterans, military support staff and their families around the world free of charge.” Through the words “Honor + Inspire,” the organization furthers honest conversations between family members and diverse communi- ties, thus bridging essential cultural gaps between the the United States Armed Forces and the arts. As Adam eloquently expresses in his TED talk “My journey from Marine to Actor."
Through interviews, I learned how dance informs cultural diplomacy, cultural resistance, and even something as practical as law, because dance develops skill sets that are incredibly valuable inside and outside of the classroom:
We learn about stage presence—having that confidence to stand up in front of 750 people and perform something personal. We learn about trust—knowing that other members of your group (who have likely become family) will catch you during the falls and pull you up during the lifts. We learn about bodies—understanding where we are in space and being aware of others around us. We learn about teamwork—developing those relationships with other members and being comfortable enough around them to explain the past experiences and emotions that go into a piece.
“Self-expression is just as valuable a tool as a rifle on your shoulder.”
We learn about passion—committing our- selves to the pieces and the people.
Adam Driver, photographed by Gage
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