Bob Yesselman, Director of Dance/NYC Retires

We just received the following e-mail letter:

“To my dear friends, colleagues and Dance/NYC constituents:

As you might have seen in this morning’s NY Times,  I am today announcing my retirement from Dance/USA/NYC and the field after 36 years of serving dance artists.  My retirement will be effective September 30th, 2007.

It has been 36 years packed with all the emotions you all know so well – joy, sometimes rapture, frustration, pride of accomplishment, disaster, good times and bad, the curtain going up on a full house and sometimes the curtain going up on half a house.  It has been quite a ride and I don’t regret a minute of it.

I count three accomplishments as highlights of my career.  The first as President of the 1987 gala, “Dancing for Life” at a time when HIV/AIDS in the dance field was barely acknowledged, and corporations and even dance companies wanted to stay far away from the issue.  In the end, we played to a full house at the State Theater and raised $1.3 million for AIDS education and dancer treatment.  The second, being lucky enough to be managing the Taylor Company at a time when Paul was in his most groundbreaking and creative period, creating masterpieces that will stand the test of time.  The third has been the last 5 1/2 years as Director of Dance/NYC.  Building an organization from the ground up, designing professional development activities and new ways for the NYC dance community to communicate, and the great gift of sharing my experience with artists and managers young and old.  It has, in many ways, been the most rewarding part of a long career.

In October, I will be relocating to Palm Springs in the California desert but will stay on as a long-distance consultant to Dance/NYC.  In my place, Dance/NYC’s development officer Michelle Burkhart has been named acting director and will bring a fresh set of eyes to the organization, a new generation of leadership, and great intelligence and insight.  As you may know, Michelle is a former dancer and can thus see the field from a perspective different from my own.  I have great faith in her, and wish her the best.  I hope you will too.

And so, goodbye.  Its been a helluva 36 years.

-Bob Yesselman”

Read the official press release here.

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