Dance: Yard director will retire
October 6, 2005
DiAnn Ray (right) with Yard founder Patricia Nanon.
Photo by Betsy Corsiglia
DiAnn Ray has announced that she is retiring as executive director of the Yard, a post she has held for 12 years. She was associated with the Chilmark dance colony for many years before becoming director. Ms. Ray plans to continue her close relationship with the organization and will assume a new role on the board of trustees as Vice President for Community Affairs.
According to a press release from the Yard, choreographer and director Wendy Taucher of West Tisbury and New York City will take on the executive leadership role as Managing Director and Curator for Special Projects. The Yard's Artistic Director since 2003, Lois Welk, will continue to serve in that capacity.
While at the Yard, Ms. Ray designed the two annual programs benefiting Island school children: the Artists-in-the-Schools residence and the Multi-Cultural program. She was instrumental in bringing special main stage events to Island audiences, including Broadway Meets Dance featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Ailey II Dance Company, and two productions by the famed The Caribbean Dance Company. During her tenure The Yard also presented two inspiring children's dance groups, the Harlem-based Batoto-Yetu, and Young Dancemakers, also from New York City.
"Among DiAnn's many gifts to The Yard is her ability to connect The Yard with the Island community at large," said board member Wiet Bacheller who was very involved in the school programs. "Through her vision and commitment, Artists-in-the-Schools and the Multi-Cultural program have become part of the Vineyard schools' curriculum, enhancing thousands of our youngsters' lives."
Ms. Bacheller also praised Ms. Ray's achievements in bringing world-renowned artists here to perform and teach.
Before becoming Yard director, Ms. Ray worked in marketing and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. She attended Boston Conservatory as a dance major, which kindled an enduring connection with the world of dance. Ms. Ray has served for many years on the Possible Dreams Auction committee and has supported many other Vineyard based charitable organizations. She also worked at WMVY, serving as general manager for seven years.
"DiAnn Ray has done an outstanding job of evolving founder Patricia N. Nanon's vision by bringing The Yard's resident artists together with the local community and educators," said Ms. Taucher on behalf of the board. "During her tenure, The Yard has solidified its reputation as the place where dance luminaries want to be." Ms. Taucher joined The Yard's Board of Trustees in 2002 and has served as President of the Board of Trustees since 2004.
"With my wonderful colleagues at The Yard and with our extraordinary resident artists, I have been privileged to help foster more understanding for dance, more support, more passion," said Ms. Ray about her 12 years as director. "That is good for dance, for without audience members, there can be no performing arts. And it is good for the Vineyard because it creates a way in which we can come together and share in the experience of artistic expression, regardless of the language we speak, or the heritage we bear, or whether we are seasonal or year-round residents."
For more information about the Yard, call 508-645-9662.