Welcome back to the Frog Blog! By Michael Derworiz Editing & writing support: Colleen Snell & Jessica Cen
Hello everyone, welcome to new readers and returning friends to the Frog in Hand Blog! I would like to take a quick moment to introduce myself and acknowledge my lens as I contribute to and open this blog for 2020. My name is Michael, my pronouns are they/them and I am a queer, white settler and multidisciplinary performing artist. I am originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, located on Treaty 6 Territory, I now reside in Tkarón:to/Toronto. I was part of Frog in Hand's 2020 Summer Company, where I grew and developed as an artist and person. The company finished on July 31, 2020 - but we have much to share from our time as a collective.
... Yes, the 2020 Summer Company is over! Frog in Hand connected with eleven new generation artists over eight weeks. For those who do not know, the Frog in Hand Summer Company is a training and performance initiative funded by the Federal Government (Canada Summer Jobs). This project is driven by Frog in Hand’s desire to give back to the arts community by supporting the voices of emerging artists. It is a direct response to the challenge of youth unemployment and an investment in the future of the arts in our community.
BUT... This was a unique year for the Summer Company. As you may know... we are currently living through a global pandemic (joke*), and because of Covid-19 we continue to take precautionary actions, keeping the safety and well-being of everyone in mind. I am sure it is a very different reality for all of us, indeed, the 2020 Frog in Hand Summer Company evolved and adapted to new circumstances, including multiple online forms of communication, physical distancing measures, wearing masks and using lots of sanitizer.
In the past, this blog has been an incredible way to keep up to date with the Summer Company. But again, this year is different. We have identified this blog as a platform and space we can use to expose the injustices and systemic racism in our society, specifically within Dance and Theatre communities. Racism is rampant in our world and it is each individual's responsibility to actively be anti-racist and put in the time to become more educated and make our workspaces, schools, dance classes, theatres and everywhere more inclusive for folks who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). Frog in Hand released a statement and actionable plan on how we want to combat racism, this is available to read on Instagram @froginhand (link here). As part of Frog in Hand’s intent to amplify the voices of BIPOC folks, this blog will be a place of discourse and conversation between Frog in Hand company members (including listening, receptive white accomplices) and artists of colour on whatever topics we decide to talk about - this may include race, at the discretion and choice of participants. We want to highlight their stories and learn more about some of the beautiful creators of Colour in our communities right now.
Thank you for reading and I am excited to be a part of a community which holds room for these conversations and continue to engage with them throughout this process and into the future. Stay tuned for interviews and updates!