Johnson (Tance) / Dance Action Collection
Founded in 1968 and originally known as the San Francisco Dancer's Forum, Dance Action is a community service organization devoted to the dual purpose of providing underprivileged and minority youth with opportunities to study dance and local dance professionals with opportunities to teach and perform. Its founder and artistic director, Tance Johnson (Frances J. Sitton), obtained support from the Dance Division of San Francisco State College to inaugurate the forum with a series of master classes for Bay Area Dancers and Teachers. Projects initiated soon after this included choreographers' workshop performances, summer dance scholarships for low-income high school students, and master classes on modern and ethnic dance techniques.
During the past twenty years, Dance Action has continued to offer the community a wide range of benefits. The Youths-in-Dance summer workshops offer dance courses for low income and minority youth at studios throughout the Bay Area. For those students exhibiting talent, winter youth workshops provide additional training, as well as opportunities to participate in performances. An in-school series introduced students to improvisation, ethnic, and jazz dance as part of physical education programs. Field trips for youth to dance and art events were also incorporated into the program.
Through the teaching and performing opportunities provided by the forum, local dance professionals received major publicity and national dance magazine recognition, as well as additional training in master classes. At the same time, the community gained greater exposure to modern and ethnic dance. A typical season included 15-30 performances at studios, schools, and community centers.
The performing arm of Dance Action, Tance Dance (formerly known as Chamber Dance Theatre), debuted in 1980 under the sponsorship of the Museum of Modern Art. Its goal is to present performances integrating dance with other art forms. Multimedia programs featuring slide imagery, sculptures, painters and actors have been performed at numerous San Francisco art galleries.
Dance Action programs have received funding from a wide variety of sources, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the San Francisco Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Fund, Hewlett Packard, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, and Bay View Federal Savings.