May 9, 2013
This year the Aquarium presented the Glenn McIntyre Heritage Award posthumously to Zina Bethune. Founder and artistic director of Theatre Bethune, she died in a tragic car accident in February 2012. She had an extensive and inspirational professional dance career, while being “differently abled,” in her words, with dysplastic hips, scoliosis, and lymphedema.
Bethune appeared in films, on television, and on Broadway. She was a pioneering force for the Americans with Disabilities Act and the arts and disability movement inclusion guidelines for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
In 1980 she founded Bethune Theatredanse, which is now Theatre Bethune. Through this multimedia dance company, she developed Infinite Dreams, the first participatory dance program for youth with disabilities created by a professional dance troupe. Bethune led her dance company on international tours and even received an invitation to perform at the White House.
Pictured: Ivy Bethune, Zina Bethune’s mother; Paula Woodley, Theatre Bethune board member; Kathie Nirschl, vice president of human resources, Aquarium of the Pacific; and Sean Feeley, Zina Bethune’s husband.