39 Days of IDEAS | Day 2: Turning artists into leaders

September 04, 2014
| by Editor |

Zoetic Dance Ensemble uses dance to celebrate women, explore history, embrace diverse cultures, and examine societal attitudes. Their new idea: using dance to find new organizational leaders.

“Our collaborative culture led to an inventive succession plan, giving artists the chance to pursue leadership positions within the company,” said Zoetic Dance Ensemble founder and Creative Director Melanie Blanchard. That’s how they hired new Artistic Director Mallory Baxley, a dancer and filmmaker who began with the company in high school, and stuck with them through college at UGA and beyond. “Many of our dancers have invested years of their careers in Zoetic,” said Blanchard. “We wanted to offer them a significant return by recruiting a new Artistic Director from within.”

In 10 years of operation, Zoetic has developed a rich legacy of dancers and choreographers, many of whom have gone on to work in places like New York City. “We want artists to understand that Zoetic is a place where they can experiment, produce, learn, and lead without having to find a bigger pond, or creating another nonprofit,” said Blanchard. Over the years, Blanchard and company looked at “what would be required for these artists to live and work in Atlanta.” The answer was a more robust staff development plan that, Blanchard reports, has been richly rewarded with more energy and renewed commitment from their on-staff artists.

“As artists, we crave change and actively seek opportunities to improve,” said Blanchard. “So the challenging nature of a succession effort is exciting for us.”


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The Georgia Nonprofit NOW team: Betsy Reid, Editor-in-Chief: Marc Schultz, Managing Editor; and Tom Zimmerman, Community Editor

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