‘Ohio: A State of Dance’ profiles pioneers of dance in the buckeye state

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Since 2016, OhioDance has been documenting and contextualizing the rich history and contemporary presence of dance throughout the state with their Virtual Dance Collection. The Virtual Dance Collection is an interactive, online museum of sorts – featuring profiles of the various prominent movers and shakers in the field of dance in Ohio.

“Ohio: A State of Dance” is a documentary celebrating the first ten individuals profiled by the Virtual Dance Collection, and WOUB-TV viewers can watch the program on Sunday, February 6 at 5:30 p.m.

Ohio Dance
Jane D’Angelo, the Executive Director of OhioDance, said the documentary comes after working through many hundreds of hours of footage collected for the Virtual Dance Collection. D’Angelo said “Ohio: A State of Dance” is unified by several themes OhioDance found throughout the first 10 profiles created for the OhioDance Virtual Collection.

“There was a strong presence of exploring the issue of the women’s movements, civil rights, disability rights,” said D’Angelo. “Also, a strong narrative about women’s leadership emerges exposing the trajectory through which women in the dance field built their influence and purpose on their own terms — in concert with grassroot support of other stakeholders.”

One of the important figures in the history of dance in Ohio whose work is highlighted by “Ohio: A State of Dance” is Ohio University’s retired Director Emerita and Distinguished Professor of Dance at Ohio University Gladys Bailin Stern.

“Gladys Bailin is a significant person in this collection,” said D’Angelo, who noted a wealth of information on Bailin can be found in the Virtual Dance Collection on the OhioDance website, including a 12-page transcript of an interview with Bailin. “Bailin went on to be named a distinguished professor of dance at Ohio University, and she won an OhioDance award from us for the advancement of the art form. She is still a staple today, a very important figure and resource for dance in Ohio.”

D’Angelo hopes the documentary proves enlightening to both those who have a great knowledge of dance, as well as those who are new to the field – or maybe just curious. She also hopes it inspires viewers to check out the Virtual Dance Collection.

“We’re hoping to create a resource for educators and artists, and it’s a wealth of information for those involved with the field,” she said.  “But it’s also important for those with little experience with dance to hear these stories and to be able to relate to them and to learn what these figures did for dance in their state.”